Gladiator 2: Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know

Posted 2022/04/21 9 0


After over two decades of speculation, the sequel to Gladiator is finally moving forward, with director Ridley Scott revealing in November that a script is complete and will be the British director’s next production. He is also directing the Joaquin Phoenix vehicle Napoleon is currently filming and will premiere some time next year. The Gladiator 2 screenplay was written by Peter Craig, whose stock has skyrocketed this year following the release of box office smash The Batman, which he co-wrote with Planet Of The Apes franchise director Matt Reeves.

Plot and casting details are being kept firmly under wraps for the Gladiator sequel, unsubstantiated rumors about Chris Hemsworth’s involvement notwithstanding. But there is more than enough material in print for us to make a few educated guesses. Here is everything we know about the film so far.

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The Plot & Cast: Continuing the Story of Lucilla’s Son, Lucius

Fans of Gladiator will remember the tense scenes between Russell Crowe’s Maximus and Lucilla, whose studied nonchalance in the presence of her maniacal brother Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) was beautifully portrayed by Connie Nielsen. Lucilla’s son, Lucius (Spencer Treat Clark), served as a surrogate for Maximus’s own son, who was revealed early in the film to have been killed on Commodus’s orders.

The idea of using Lucius’s life as a focus for a sequel has been a favorite of Scott’s for many years. In fact, the concept was first touted by the director all the way back in 2003. Pressed for a comment on her possible appearance as Lucius’s mother in the sequel, Nielsen told the New York Post only that she was “not allowed to say anything” in December. However, strong performances opposite Gal Gadot as Hippolyta in Wonder Woman (2017) and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) amply demonstrate the gravitas that made her so compelling in Gladiator and make her a natural choice for a sequel.

The casting of Lucius remains a mystery. However, the actor who played the part in the original, Spencer Treat Clark, graduated from child to adult roles with ease and continues to appear to critical acclaim in television and film productions. Those projects include Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.

Will Russell Crowe Appear?

The vexed question of a return to the screen of Maximus remains, with Crowe averring in 2020 that he had not been contacted with a view to appearing. Late last year, however, it was rumored that Crowe would be co-producing the sequel and might also indeed be starring in it, albeit in a series of flashbacks. The actor’s decision to replace the profile picture on his Twitter account earlier this month with one of him in costume from the original production has set the internet’s rumor mill running once again.

What About Nick Cave’s Script?

It remains to be seen whether Gladiator 2 will incorporate any of the material written by Nick Cave. The Australian singer-songwriter best known for his work with The Bad Seeds is also no stranger to the world of screenwriting. He penned the critically acclaimed meat pie western The Proposition (2005) and the award-winning prohibition drama Lawless (2012) based on Matt Bondurant’s novel The Wettest County in the World. In the mid-2000s, Cave was approached by his friend Russell Crowe and tasked with writing a sequel to Gladiator.

Thrown the curveball of having to produce a continuation of a story whose main character was killed at its conclusion, Cave duly ventured into the realm of the supernatural. The writer envisaged Maximus as coming face to face with a bevy of Roman gods, including Jupiter and Mars in the afterlife, who send him back to Earth to kill a god who has betrayed them, thereafter starring in a series of time-traveling adventures.

Faithful to the spirit of the original, it was not, and Crowe passed. Nor does it seem likely that Scott asked Craig to rehash Cave’s work, given the director’s predilection for conventional historical dramas such as Kingdom of Heaven (2005) and last year’s The Last Duel.

Nevertheless, several of the plot details of Cave’s script that have been revealed over the years speak well of his feel for the cinematic. One of the most compelling scenes in the script was that in which a Roman amphitheater plays host to a mock sea battle featuring ships and alligators. It sounds like a typical piece of Hollywood hyperbole. Still, strangely enough, this actually happened. A few of the largest Roman amphitheaters were built with the facility to be flooded for these spectacles. If Peter Craig’s screenplay does indeed incorporate some of Cave’s material, as has been speculated, it may well be this sort of historically accurate, high-drama scene that is utilized.

Release Date

A release date for Gladiator 2 has yet to be confirmed.

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