The Long-Awaited Sequel to “Gladiator”: Why Did It Take So Long?
It’s been 23 years since Ridley Scott’s epic historical drama Gladiator wowed audiences worldwide. Starring Russell Crowe as the valiant Maximus Decimus Meridius, the film immersed viewers in ancient Rome’s brutal world, where honor, vengeance, and epic battles reigned supreme. The historical flick resonated with audiences and critics, earning a collective thumbs up and five Academy Awards (including Best Picture) solidifying it and Crowe’s place in cinematic history. Despite the apparent desire for a sequel, nearly two decades passed without any progress on a follow-up to one of the best movies of the 2000s. In a recent interview, Scott clarified why the highly anticipated historical action flick Gladiator 2 took so long to materialize.
The Challenges of Crafting a Worthy Sequel
In a recent exclusive interview with our sister site, Total Film, the Alien filmmaker shed some light on the extended delay. According to Ridley, the road to bringing a sequel to life took a lot of work and perfect timing. He explained that four years ago, they attempted to develop a script but faced difficulties finding the right writer who could match the essence of the original film. Despite choosing a talented writer, they couldn’t make progress. Scott highlighted the writer’s frustration and disappointment, showcasing his dedication to delivering quality storytelling. However, after a hiatus, they regrouped and came up with an obvious idea that breathed new life into the project. The sequel was finally set in motion with this breakthrough.
An All-Star Cast and a New Time Setting
Gladiator 2 boasts an impressive cast, led by Oscar-nominee Paul Mescal in the role of Lucius Verus. Mescal, known for his breakout performance in 2020’s Normal People, has received critical acclaim for his work in other films, including The Lost Daughter and Aftersun. In the upcoming movie, Lucius serves as the survivor, being the son of the union between Lucilla and Maximus. It’s important to note that the sequel features a 25-year time jump, taking audiences into a new era of the story.
Production and Release Details
Production for Gladiator 2 began last summer, with David Scarpa tasked with penning the script. Scarpa recently collaborated with Ridley Scott on their 2023 movie release, Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix. The decision to cast Phoenix was influenced by Scott’s admiration for his performance in Joker, despite his personal dislike of the film itself. Gladiator 2 is scheduled for release in 2024, promising to be a thrilling addition to the movie lineup.
Upcoming Projects from Ridley Scott
In the meantime, fans can look forward to Ridley Scott’s next historical drama, Napoleon, which is set to release on November 22. The film will be available for streaming soon after on Apple TV+. Early glimpses and the trailer suggest another magnificent performance by Joaquin Phoenix.
Although Russell Crowe won’t be part of the upcoming Gladiator sequel, which has disappointed him, audiences can revisit his star-making turn in the beloved original film, currently available for streaming with a Netflix subscription.