Gladiator won the Academy Award for Best Picture back in 2001 and it was one of those Oscar winning movies that also was successful at the box office. With success like that, the idea of a sequel certainly shouldn't be entirely surprising. However, it is surprising that we're talking about this sequel happening some 20 years later, and it looks like it may actually happen.
How exactly such a sequel would even work has been a topic of much debate, but we recently learned a bit of detail that will explain all that as producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have confirmed that the new movie will pick up nearly three decades after the original film left off. According to Parkes...
It picks up the story 30 years later… 25 years later.
The confirmation that Gladiator 2 will see a time jump would seem to confirm the most recent word about what the movie will actually be about. Peter Craig, who wrote The Town among other films, is working on a script that will apparently focus on a grown up Lucius, the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus from the original film.
The time jump and new focus certainly makes some sense, considering that Russell Crowe's character from the first movie didn't make it out of the film alive, so making a sequel that focused on him was potentially problematic.
Not that director Ridley Scott ever cared. Even a couple of years ago Scott was talking about a sequel that would actually bring the character of Maximus back. To be fair, we don't know for certain that's not still the plan.
While Gladiator was certainly a popular movie, it does seem like an odd choice to make a sequel so long after the fact to a movie that seemed quite complete on its own. However, co-producer Laurie MacDonald insists to HeyUGuys that nobody would be moving forward on the project if they didn't think there was a valid way to do it...
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.
Ridley Scott is currently attached to direct the sequel should it make it to that stage. One assumes he would also act as a producer.
While a new film would apparently focus on the grown up Lucius, it's unclear exactly what a Gladiator 2 would actually be about. Would it literally see Lucius become a gladiator, or would it end up being called something else, and simply be a sequel because it follows on those events?
While many of the characters of the original Gladiator were based on actual historical figures, the movie pays little mind to actual history. On the plus side, that fact means the sequel can tell basically any story it wants. The actual Lucius who was the son of Lucilla, sister of Commodus, died young, so any story that sees him as an adult will need to be complete fiction.
While this project is apparently moving forward, we have no idea when it might go into production.