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Ridley Scott has not been shy in the past about discussing a sequel to Gladiator. The producer and director has previously said that not only would he be happy to make Gladiator 2, it wouldn't follow Djimon Hounsou's character or anything. Instead, he feels like there is a way to bring Russell Crowe's character back. Because Maximus is dead at the end of Gladiator, it's difficult to see how this would be possible, but recently Ridley Scott revealed exactly what he would do to ensure that Maximus would be around if Gladiator 2 ever got off the ground. Here's his idea:
I can bring him back. I know how to bring him back. I talked him into how I'm bringing him back. I use the [body] of a dying warrior as a portal that could bring somebody back.
Speaking to ME. Movies, Ridley Scott straight-up revealed that he would like to include a major fantasy element in Gladiator 2 if it were to get off the ground. Because the movie ended up with Maximus sacrificing himself to beat his foe and help make things better for the common man (as well as end up with his dead wife and kid), he would need to come back from the dead in order to appear in Gladiator 2. Apparently, Ridley Scott thinks a portal would just about do it.
He also says that this isn't just a fantasy he's been mulling over for years. Apparently, screenwriter Nick Cave, Russell Crowe and he have all communicated about the potential for a sequel and there's even a script for the project running around somewhere.
Russell, me and Nick Cave, it was about bringing him back. It was a good idea. It's on the shelf somewhere at Dreamworks... [Russell] said listen. I've got some thoughts, 'What can we do about Gladiator?' I said, 'I can bring you back.' That's how it began. He'd been working with Nick Cave, so then we talked--the three of us-- and out of it evolved a screenplay.
I'm not sure if audiences would really buy in to the idea of Maximus coming back via a portal, but I'm also not sure that people would be excited about Maximus coming back in any other way after the events in Gladiator. When last we saw him in the original movie, the character collapsed and envisioned himself meeting his wife and child, finally. After, his pal Juba seemingly confirmed he was dead when he buried his friends' figurines in the stadium, vowing to meet him again. I suppose there are things that a second Gladiator movie could do more practically to bring Russell Crowe back, like maybe show him in a coma and mostly dead rather than dead as a doornail, but it was a satisfying ending when Maximus envisioned meeting his family in the afterlife, so I'm uncertain if people would be entertained by any premise bringing him back.
Still, Ridley Scott seems pretty confident that he could do it and it would work, despite the fact it has been 17 years since Russell Crowe portrayed the character and he's a much older man now. Maybe one day Gladiator 2 will live to see the light of day. But not yet. Not yet.