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Gladiator 2 Release Date, Plot, Cast, Trailer And More Details

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When it hit theaters back in 2000, "Gladiator" received a big thumbs up from pretty much everyone — critics, audiences, and awards bodies alike. The movie was the second highest-grossing film of its year worldwide, and it slaughtered the competition at the Oscars, with Russell Crowe winning for best actor and the movie itself winning best picture. And pretty much since the moment it was released, there's been constant talk about a "Gladiator 2."

For years now, "Gladiator 2" has languished in development hell, searching for the right script, trying to get the greenlight. But in 2024, we're finally going back to Rome. That's right — a sequel to "Gladiator" is on its way, but how exactly is that going to work out? Spoiler alert for the first film: Russell Crowe's character, Maximus, died in the original movie. So what story is the new "Gladiator" going to tell, and which cast and crew members are set to entertain us? Read on for everything you need to know about "Gladiator 2."

When will Gladiator 2 be released?

The original "Gladiator" was released nearly 25 years ago, hitting theaters on May 25, 2000. In the years after, there were rumblings and rumors that we'd possibly get a "Gladiator" sequel one day, and eventually, those rumors turned out to be true. The movie started moving forward in earnest when Paramount came aboard the project in 2018, and after director Ridley Scott finished filming "Napoleon," he's turned his attention to ancient Rome.

So when can we expect to see the film? Those who are about to die will salute you on November 22, 2024. Interestingly, "Gladiator 2" will find itself up against some serious competition when it finally hits the big screen. The ancient Romans will find themselves battling the inhabitants of Oz, as that's also the day the first installment in the "Wicked" series will unleash its magic upon audiences. Could we possibly get a new Barbenheimer phenomenon here? Glicked, perhaps? 

What is the plot of Gladiator 2?

The original "Gladiator" is a classic tale of betrayal and revenge. When Emperor Marcus Aurelius asks his trusted general, Maximus, to help rule Rome after his death, the caesar's jealous son, Commodus, murders his dad and slaughters Maximus' family. As for the poor general, he's eventually sold into slavery, where he quickly becomes the best gladiator in the Roman Empire, eventually performing in the Colosseum before Commodus.

Swearing revenge, Maximus kills Commodus in the ring, although he suffers a fatal blow in his pursuit of vengeance. So with Maximus dead, where is the story going from here? Well, remember the character of Lucius? He's the son of Lucilla, Commodus' sister and Maximus' old flame. Thanks to Maximus' efforts, Lucius and his mother escape Commodus' twisted grasp, and we're going to see what adult Lucius is up to all these years later.

Per the official plot synopsis, "'Gladiator II' continues the epic saga of power, intrigue, and vengeance set in Ancient Rome. Years after witnessing the death of revered hero Maximus at the hands of his uncle, Lucius (Paul Mescal) is forced to enter the Colosseum after his home is conquered by the tyrannical emperors who now lead Rome with an iron fist. With rage in his heart and the future of the Empire at stake, Lucius must look to his past to find strength and honor to return the glory of Rome to its people."

On top of all that, we know there's going to be an epic rhino fight, a naval battle in the Colosseum, a baboon attack, and a wealthy businessman who plans on using Lucius in order to steal power from the two unhinged monarchs.

Who is starring in Gladiator 2?

"Gladiator" pretty much ends in a bloodbath, with both Maximus and Commodus dying in the Colosseum. However, we know that Lucius, Commodus' nephew, will be the protagonist of "Gladiator 2." The character was played by Spencer Treat Clark in the original film, but he won't be reprising the part in the upcoming sequel.

Instead, Lucius will be portrayed by Paul Mescal. According to Deadline, the actor majorly impressed director Ridley Scott during their meeting and was always one of his top picks for the part. Additionally, Mescal earned a BAFTA for his work as Connell Waldron in the Irish miniseries "Normal People," and he received an Oscar nomination for playing young single dad Calum in "Aftersun."

As for the rest of the cast, Fred Hechinger of "The White Lotus" is set to play Emperor Geta, Joseph Quinn of "Stranger Things" will portray Emperor Caracalla, and May Calamawy of "Moon Knight" and "Ramy" fame will also star in the film. In addition to these up-and-coming stars, the legendary Denzel Washington will portray a former gladiator turned "rich guy who's still carrying a grudge," as Ridley Scott told Total Film (via GamesRadar+). 

We'll also see Pedro Pascal of "The Mandalorian" and "The Last of Us" playing a Roman general who'll go toe to with Paul Mescal in the Colosseum. Plus, original "Gladiator" stars Connie Nielsen and Derek Jacobi will play Lucilla and Gracchus, respectively. They'll be joined by Matt Lucas ("Wonka"), Peter Mensah (Starz's "Spartacus" series), and Lior Raz ("Hit & Run").

Is there a trailer for Gladiator 2?

Much like the movie is sure to be, the trailer for "Gladiator 2" is an epic feast of gladiator battles, breathtaking visuals, and movie star charisma. Paul Mescal emanates rage and fury as Lucius, but his character also displays a cool head when using his wits to defeat a blood-smeared rhinoceros. Fred Hechinger and Joseph Quinn look like they're going to be the kind of villains we love to hate — cackling, clownish demons who care more for sport than feeding their people. Pedro Pascal seems to be portraying a very conflicted general, who's feeling guilt for carrying out the orders of two lunatic emperors. However, his regrets won't save him from a swordfight against Mescal's vengeful Lucius.

Of course, the true scene-stealer here is Denzel Washington, who's giving off strong "give me an Oscar now" vibes. The trailer portrays him as a true mastermind, playing a game of 4-D chess in his bid to control an empire. "Rome must fall," we hear him say. "I need only give it a push." When we're not distracted by Washington's aura, we're amazed by insane visuals like a war ship being rowed into the middle of a Colosseum, where one unlucky soldier is shot by an arrow, falls into the water, and is devoured by a shark. "Gladiator" raised a pretty big bar when it comes to spectacle and stakes, and "Gladiator 2" looks to be clearing that bar with ease.

Who is directing Gladiator 2?

While Russell Crowe entertained the masses in "Gladiator," Ridley Scott was basically the emperor — the one calling all the shots. The director earned an Oscar nomination for his work on the film, his second of three (including one for "Thelma & Louise" and another for "Black Hawk Down"). Honestly, we're a little shocked that Scott has never won an Oscar for directing, as he's one of the very best filmmakers working today. Perhaps he'll finally win one for his work on the upcoming "Gladiator" sequel.

Scott's filmography is vast and eclectic, and it boasts some of the very best films of all time, including 1979's "Alien" and the original "Blade Runner." In more recent years, he's helmed projects ranging from "The Martian" and "The Last Duel" to "House of Gucci" and "All the Money in the World." His most recent film was "Napoleon," starring Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous dictator. Now, he's swapped out France for Italy and has cooked up a new epic with "Gladiator 2." Honestly, there's no one else we'd want running the show here, and we're excited to see what Scott has in mind for the follow-up of one of his very best films.

Who is writing Gladiator 2?

Originally, the script for "Gladiator 2" was going to be penned by Peter Craig, the writer behind both "Mockingjay" movies and "The Batman." However, he was eventually replaced with David Scarpa, a scribe who has a history with Ridley Scott. (Craig still has a story credit on the film, however.) Scarpa penned the script for "All the Money in the World," the Scott movie most famous for replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer at the last minute. Scarpa also wrote Scott's Napoleon biopic, and in addition to all that, he penned the massively underrated prison thriller "The Last Castle," the not-exactly-beloved sci-fi remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and several episodes of "The Man in the High Castle."

Where to watch the original Gladiator

Before "Gladiator 2" steps into the box office arena, it might be a good idea to revisit the 2000 classic. While Maximus most likely won't be showing up in the sequel (unless it's a flashback — he died in the original, after all), it will still be a good idea to see Lucius' background and witness the events that shaped the adult he becomes in part two. So if you want to stream the first "Gladiator" movie, you can find it on Prime Video and Paramount+. You can also rent it on Apple iTunesVuduPrime VideoGoogle Play, and YouTube.