18 Juli 2024

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

5 min read

Gladiator 2 is slowly moving along, two decades after the release and colossal success of Gladiator, which starred Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix and nabbed five Academy Awards. Like its predecessor, the epic historical drama will be helmed by acclaimed filmmaker Ridley Scott.

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Update July 31, 2023: If you’re looking for news on Gladiator 2, you’ll be happy to know that this article has been updated by Mona Bassil with more details regarding the upcoming sequel.

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Plenty of rumors (a lot of which is wishful thinking) have been circulating about Gladiator 2 for some time now, and being the highly anticipated sequel to a Best Picture-winning film is bound to generate interest. Fans have speculated on the plot, actors have pledged their desire to be involved with the project, and entire scripts have been written by third parties. Screenwriter David Scarpa (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Last Castle, The Man in the High Castle) was eventually the one to be selected for the latter, much-coveted task, and Scott also collaborated with him on Napoleon. Here are the confirmed details about Gladiator 2 so far.

Gladiator 2: Plot

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DreamWorks Pictures

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.

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Currently, no exact plot details are known about Gladiator 2. All that is known is that the film will focus on the grown-up Lucius, which has been an idea Scott has wanted to explore as far back as 2002 when John Logan was originally set to pen the script.

Gladiator 2: The Cast

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Paul Mescal in the movie Carmen
Sony Pictures

Irish actor Paul Mescal known for the miniseries Normal People, and his recent Oscar nomination for Aftersun will play the role of Lucius. Connie Nielsen, who previously played Lucius’ mother, Lucilla, in Gladiator, will reprise her role.

The cast also will include Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, The Last of Us) and Joseph Quinn (Stranger Things), with Quinn confirmed as Emperor Caracalla. The cast is also set to include Derek Jacobi as Senator Gracchus, Djimon Hounsou as the former gladiator Juba, and Fred Hechinger as Emperor Geta, Caracalla’s brother, and most like the story’s main antagonist. Denzel Washington, May Calamawy, Lior Raz, Peter Mensah, Matt Lucas, and Barry Keoghan have also been cast, but their roles remain unknown.


Fans have been wondering if Maximus will be making a comeback, despite his certain death at the end of the first installment. Crowe stated in 2020 that he had not been contacted to appear. In late 2021, however, it was rumored that he would be co-producing the sequel and would probably appear in it, albeit in a series of flashbacks. If only for the enjoyment of fans, it would be a smart move to have Crowe involved simply for the sake of a more profound understanding of the original film. The actor has certainly teased his followers on social media, having posted Gladiator-related content on Twitter — before he became Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder, that is.

In recent interviews, though, he has expressed his irritation from constantly being asked about Gladiator 2. Per Variety, he lost it in front of journalists at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, stating, “They should be f***ing paying me for the amount of questions I am asked about a film I am not even in. It has nothing to do with me. In that world, I am dead. Six feet under. But I do admit to a certain tinge of jealousy because it reminds me of when I was younger and what it meant for me, in my life.” He then added, “I can’t think of this movie being anything other than spectacular.”

Nick Cave’s Script

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Russell Crowe in Gladiator (2000)
Universal Pictures

It remains to be seen whether Gladiator 2 will incorporate any of the material written by Nick Cave into Scarpa’s script. 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 good friend 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, and they send him back to Earth to kill a god who has betrayed them. After that, Maximus would embark on a series of time-traveling adventures.

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But it was not faithful to the spirit of the original, and Crowe officially passed. Nor does it seem likely that Scott asked Scarpa to rehash Cave’s work, given the director’s predilection for conventional historical dramas such as Kingdom of Heaven (2005) and 2021’s The Last Duel.

Nevertheless, several of the plot details in Cave’s script speak well of his feel for the cinematic. One of the most compelling scenes features a Roman amphitheater playing 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 in the past. A few of the largest Roman amphitheaters were built with the facility to be flooded for these spectacles. If the final screenplay incorporates some of Cave’s material, it may well be this specific historically accurate, high-drama scene.

Release Date

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Gladiator (2000)
Universal Pictures

Gladiator 2 has been set for release on November 22, 2024. That close to Thanksgiving release date is a notable one for Ridley Scott as it has worked out well for Scott on House of Gucci and is the same weekend the upcoming film Napoleon will be released.

Filming for the movie began in June 2023, and on June 7, 2023, an incident involving fire left six crew members injured. It is unclear if the film will be able to make its release date as production was shut down due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. While the film is still a year away, if the strike is not ended soon, it could shift the film back along with many other films on the release schedule.