Gladiator recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. In fact, the movie was even set to return to theaters to celebrate the occasion until the pandemic happened and plans were cancelled. But still, it seems we may not’ve seen the last of the franchise, as sequel talks have been taking place.
Despite coming out in the summer, the Ridley Scott epic went on to win Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe. It was also the fourth highest-grossing movie of 2000 and spawned a slew of swords-and-sandal films such as Troy, Alexander, and Kingdom of Heaven. Of course, Crowe’s character, Maximus, died in the end, but there’ve been rumors for years now of a Gladiator 2 script doing the rounds.
While not much is known about it, producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald revealed in November of 2018 that they were definitely planning a sequel and though it’s been pretty quiet ever since then, star Connie Nielsen recently provided an update, saying:
“So, we did hear from the producers. I think it’s just a question of which film is coming first in Ridley’s very tight schedule.”
The Wonder Woman actress then clarified further, saying: “I think it’s a question of [current circumstances] and can we get back to work. But I would be interested in doing [the film], for sure. I mean, it’s obviously a wonderful project, so of course, I would be interested.”
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Scott’s definitely a busy man despite being 82. But like he did with the Alien franchise, he opens the risk of running Gladiator into the ground with unnecessary sequels. Then again, it depends on which direction he chooses to go in.
For instance, one idea for the follow up would’ve resurrected Maximus as he fights his way through various periods of history. On paper, this sounds kind of cool. It’s like the opening title sequence in X-Men Origins: Wolverine where Logan and Sabertooth fight through generations of war. And the script was written by Nick Cave, too. Yes, rock star Nick Cave.
But it’d carry a vastly different tone and feel compared to the first movie. Not to mention that Crowe is 56 and not exactly in tiptop shape at the moment. This idea was ultimately deemed too different and ambitious, but Parkes and MacDonald have a different angle. Apparently, they want to pick the story up 30 years after the first film and follow Lucius, the son of Nielsen’s Lucilla.
While we suppose that could be interesting, the idea of Gladiator 2 still feels wrong at the end of the day. It’s an iconic movie that works as a one-off and frankly, not every story in cinema needs to continue.