Ever since Gladiator hit theaters nearly twenty years ago, rumors have swirled that a sequel to Ridley Scott’s surprise hit is in the works. It’s easy to imagine why, too, as the film raked in massive cash at the box office and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, taking home five including Best Picture. Finally, after over a decade of gestation, Scott revealed last year that he was all set to return to Gladiator 2, and now we have our first details about its story.
During a press junket for Men In Black: International, producers Walter F Parke and Laurie MacDonald revealed exactly what we can expect from the sequel:
“We’re working with Ridley. That’s one we wouldn’t touch unless we felt in a way to do it was legitimate. We’re working with an amazing writer as well – Peter Craig.”
“It picks up the story 30 years later… 25 years later.”
This seems to confirm earlier rumors that the story will focus on Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and nephew of Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). Considering Russell Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius was slain at the end of the original, it’s unlikely he’d return in any major way.
Earlier unproduced drafts of Gladiator 2 nearly took the franchise into science fiction territory. Singer Nick Cave, for instance, wrote a sequel that saw Maximus resurrected by the gods so he could travel through time and end Roman persecution of Christians. Though entirely scrapped, the script eventually leaked online where it was derided by fans.
It sounds like the upcoming Gladiator sequel will be more grounded in reality, and Ridley Scott’s return sounds promising. At the moment, the 81-year-old director has his plate full, as he’s working on an entirely new set of Alien films for Disney, a franchise they received in their Fox acquisition. As such, it’s unclear when Gladiator 2 will hit theaters – if ever – but stay tuned for more updates on the project as they’re released.