Denzel Washington Is Reportedly Joining The Gladiator Sequel, And I'm Here For The Ridley Scott Reunion

Denzel Washington as Robert McCall in The Equalizer
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

As the development of the sequel to Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator continues to move forward, the news has gotten even more promising. With Academy Award nominee Paul Mescal filling the first lead position, yet another acting talent familiar with the Oscars sounds like they’re jumping on board. Should the latest news be true, Denzel Washington is joining Gladiator 2, and I’m all here for his reunion with his American Gangster director on what could be one of the best action movies to look forward to.

Almost two decades after Scott and Washington teamed on that true crime drama, Deadline has heard from sources that negotiations are underway for them to reunite on Gladiator 2. If this intel is to be believed, Ridley Scott’s personal pitch to Denzel Washington went a long way to bringing him onto the project. 

Naturally, we have no details on Washington’s potential character at this time. However, looking at the other recent casting news, a picture is starting to form. All anyone really has to do is look back at Gladiator's story to start piecing some intriguing theories together. 

Denzel Washington’s potential casting comes not too long after The Banshees of Inishirin star/Academy Award nominee Barry Keoghan is also in negotiations to join Gladiator 2. On tap to potentially play Emperor Publius Septemus Geta, one might assume that Keoghan and Mescal will have an antagonistic relationship. As Lucius’ connection to Russell Crowe’s Maximus might put him at odds with Keoghan’s Publius, that might be all it takes for Paul Mescal to be made our new gladiator.

What makes this potential reteaming all the sweeter is that it’s another link in the shared history between Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington. Having already starred together in 1996’s Virtuosity, the two teamed up again under Ridley Scott for American Gangster. Since Crowe and Scott helped originate the Gladiator legacy, seeing Washington possibly helping to continue it makes for a nice, cozy feeling that a new hero will rise in a very familiar fashion. 

Could Gladiator 2 become one of the most iconic Denzel Washington movies? Time will tell, as there’s still no official release date or production start date attached to this film. Not to mention, the confirmation of both Washington and Barry Keoghan is also still waiting in the wings, as anything can happen while "in negotiations." That's not going to stop me, or anyone else, from hoping really hard that it happens, as this casting is A+ and would make for an exciting return to the Gladiator saga.

In the meantime, check out the 2023 new movie releases to see what’s already locked and ready to make this upcoming year a cinematic experience. Also, if you want to revisit American Gangster, it's currently streaming for those of you with a Prime Video subscription.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.