A few years ago, Ridley Scott confirmed that he was developing a sequel to his Oscar-winning epic Gladiator that would focus on Lucius, the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix’s villainous Commodus from the original movie. Peter Craig (of The Town) had been tapped to write the script, but that was all we knew at the time… and it’s also all we still know at this time, but Scott just revealed in an interview with Empire (via The Hollywood Reporter) that the script is being written now.
Scott says the plan is for Gladiator 2 to be “ready to go” when he finishes Kitbag, the Napoleon movie he’s making with Jodie Comer and Joaquin Phoenix (yes, he’s slightly taller than Napoleon was, we’ll save you the trouble of looking it up), which presumably means that it will be his next movie. Seeing as how the new hobby that Scott picked up over the course of the pandemic is “making movies really fast” (he has two coming out this year!), we might not even have to wait too long to see how ancient Rome has changed in the last few decades.
No matter what, though, Scott’s Gladiator 2 definitely be as completely off-the-wall bananas as the version that original star Russell Crowe hired Nick Cave to write. Crowe, whose character very much dies in the original movie, asked Cave to come up with a script that Crowe could still star in, which resulted in a fantasy epic where Crowe’s Maximus wakes up in the afterlife and is forced to become an assassin for the gods in order to earn a second chance at life.
As this BBC story lays it out, Maximus succeeds and is sent back to Earth to deal with even more drama between tyrannical Roman rulers and the people they kill for fun, leading to a battle between Rome and early Christian rebels. As punishment/reward for his lifetime(s) of violence, though, Maximus would then be cursed to live for eternity, leading soldiers to die in the Crusades, the World Wars, and every other major battle in history.
That would’ve been awesome, but it also probably would’ve been profoundly silly. Russell Crowe has more things to worry about now anyway, like the fact that young people don’t appreciate grown-up movies like Master And Commander or that 20th Century Fox decided to immediately undercut that argument by developing a version of Master And Commander that is specifically for young people.