Are you ready to be entertained—again? Director Ridley Scott is developing a sequel to his award-winning film Gladiator, according to Deadline. Gladiator, which starred an extremely fit Russell Crowe, was one of Scott’s most successful films commercially and critically, making $460 million worldwide when it was released in 2000. Now, he’s ready for Gladiator 2.
Crowe starred in the original Gladiator, which won numerous awards at the Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Visual Effects, after being nominated for 11 Academy Awards. Peter Craig (The Town, Top Gun: Maverick) will pen the script for the sequel, which will follow the story of Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), and the nephew of the main villain Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix).
Crowe’s character Maximus (spoiler alert) died at the end of the original film, and as of now, there aren’t plans for Crowe to appear in the film. That could change as time goes on, as Crowe’s character could appear in flashbacks or dream sequences to get around that whole “he died at the end” thing. In the original Gladiator, Crowe’s Maximus is betrayed by Commodus, sold into slavery, and then returns to the Colosseum as a successful gladiator as he attempts to get revenge on the men that killed his family.
Here’s an iconic moment from the original Gladiator:
This new development of the sequel isn’t the first time that a Gladiator follow-up has been considered. In fact, there were some bonkers ideas in the past about what a Gladiator sequel/follow-up could be.
Here’s a little bit of a rundown of some of the ideas that were considered—and written!—over the years before the 2018 news of the development of a new sequel came out.
- Following the success of Gladiator, a follow-up was put in development with writer John Logan again working on the screenplay. First, a prequel was considered, and then the idea moved towards a sequel, which would be set “15 years after the end of the first installment,” according to IGN.com. That film would reportedly follow Lucius as he tried to find out about his past.
- Back in the early/mid-2000s, Crowe was interested in being part of the sequel, but since Crowe’s character died at the end of Gladiator, some ideas bounced around about ways to bring him back. One idea was exploring the afterlife, while another idea had the sequel moving back and forth through time, showing Crowe in flashbacks. Producer Walter F. Parkes spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times about the sequels: “Maximus did die in the first Gladiator,” said Parkes, according to a write-up from IGN.com. “But the Romans had a great belief in the afterlife. Russell is exploring some ideas on how to come back. We can go backwards in time and forward. … The piece revolves around Connie Nielsen’s son [Lucius], who is the last heir of Marcus Aurelius. Rome has become a fascist state and we have a prince who needs to find out who was his father.”
- Once those ideas were burned through, things got really crazy. Eventually, Crowe and Scott brought in Nick Cave (The Proposition, Lawless), the leader of the band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and now-screenwriter to work on a sequel. The idea that Cave came up with was truly bonkers, and his script was later revealed online, according to The Guardian. In this sequel, Crowe’s character Maximus would wake up in the afterlife, deal with some Roman gods who help him come back to the land of living, after which he would reunite with his pal Juba (Djimon Hounsou in Gladiator), and help a group of Christians being tormented by the Roman leaders. On top of that, Maximus’s nephew (and/or potential secret son) Lucius would be the main villain. The script also included mock naval battles, a theater flooded with alligators, and a big showdown fight.
But that’s not even the bonkers part. The climax of the film would reveal Maximus going into battle in Ancient Rome, then transported through the centuries as a (reincarnated?) fighter leading battles across history, including in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and then in the Pentagon itself, where he’d be a modern day general. The point being that the origins of war in the past have continued to cycle in the future. So yeah, a pretty bonkers sequel.
- Cave later said in an interview with Den of Geek he “enjoyed writing” it because he “knew on every level that it was never going to get made.”
After all that development, it looks like Scott is ready to dive back into the world of Gladiator again with this new sequel.
Even at 80 years old, Scott remains one of the busiest directors and producers in Hollywood. Last year, Scott directed the real-life J. Paul Getty drama All the Money in the World, and he’s currently working on a sci-fi TV series for TNT titled Raised By Wolves. Deadline also reports that Scott is developing a coming-of-age Merlin movie with Disney, and a drama about photojournalist Lyndsey Addario.
Even with all those projects in the pipeline, Deadline reports that Gladiator 2 “could happen very quickly” once the script is completed.