Ridley Scott’s Gladiator was a massive critical and commercial smash hit after releasing in May 2000, but it didn’t exactly come armed with franchise potential given that the leading man and main character dies having redeemed himself and gotten justice for the murder of his wife and son in the end.
The sword and sandals epic was one of the most important and influential movies to arrive at the turn of the millennium, with Gladiator‘s success directly responsible for the onslaught of similar blockbusters that followed in its wake like Troy, The Last Samurai, Alexander, King Arthur, Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood, the latter of which reunited Scott with star Russell Crowe.
However, none of them could replicate the formula that had seen the film earn $460 million at the box office, gain widespread praise and win five Academy Awards from twelve nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor. Every now and again, talk of a potential sequel rears its head, most famously Nick Cave’s wild time traveling idea that featured Crowe returning as Maximus and popping up at various points throughout history, and a second installment went back into active development at the end of 2018.
Crowe may have previously admitted that he hasn’t been involved in any of the discussions, but his co-star Connie Nielsen, who played the sister of Joaquin Phoenix’s contemptible Commodus, revealed that the project is still very much on the table, and she’s even spoken to Ridley Scott about it.
“I know that it’s on the ledger, so let’s just see when Ridley, I know he had to do one or two other movies, and then I think it’s on the ledger after that, but I’m not quite sure where it’s at right now. It would obviously be amazing, and I know that a lot of people want to see more of that. And I think that all of us are just gonna have to look at that as a separate, different film, you know? But with some of the emotions and values that made Gladiator so powerful for so many people, which I really think were the underlying values that we were talking about. Tyranny versus freedom, and the willingness to do what needs to be done in order to free a people. And I don’t think that it would have been the same if it had just been a spectacle. It had to exist within a sphere of values.”
Whether or not audiences would be interested in another Gladiator over 20 years later without Crowe’s Maximus is another question entirely, but Scott has already proven with the Alien franchise that he’s not above returning to his biggest hits decades down the line.