Gladiator isn’t exactly a movie that lent itself to spawning a sequel considering that it ended with the death of Russell Crowe’s Maximus, but that issue has been sidestepped thanks to the selection of a new main protagonist. Rather than resurrect Maximus (although that was considered), Gladiator 2, which is one of the bigger entries on the 2024 movies calendar and coming nearly two and a half decades after its predecessor’s release, will focus on Lucius, who was originally played by Spencer Treat Clark and will now be played by Normal People’s Paul Mescal. Now director Ridley Scott has revealed a key detail about Lucius in Gladiator 2, and it has me more intrigued about the sequel.
Scott has been making the press rounds recently to promote his new movie Napoleon, and while chatting with Rotten Tomatoes, he provided the following piece of information about where we’ll find Lucius when we reunite with him in Gladiator 2:
So rather than continuing to live that cushy life as a Roman royal alongside his mother, Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla, Gladiator 2 will pick up with Paul Mescal’s adult version of the character traversing the rugged wilderness. I doubt he’s been out there the entire 12-15 years given that, as Ridlet Scott pointed out, he was a preteen when we left off with him. That said, the filmmaker’s comments indicate Lucius has been gone a long time since his mother has no idea about his fate. So what prompted Lucius to go into the wilderness? Did the events of Gladiator inspire him to do so, or was it something else that prompted him?
Assuming Gladiator 2 isn’t delayed, we have a year to go until those questions are fully answered, though we can at least infer that something will ultimately bring him back to Rome, whether it’s by his choice or force. For now though, specific plot details concerning the sequel are being kept secret, though the lineup of Paul Mescal’s costars certainly isn’t. The Gladiator 2 cast includes Connie Nielsen, Dijon Hounsou, and Derek Jacobi reprising their roles from the original movie, as well as newcomers like Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Joseph Quinn, Fred Hechinger and May Calamawy. This time around, David Scarpa wrote the script.
Gladiator 2 has resumed filming now that the SAG-AFTRA strike is over, and it’s still expected to be released on November 22, 2024. Stream the original Gladiator with either a Netflix subscription or a Paramount+ subscription; using the latter with the SHOWTIME add-on will also give you access to Paul Mescal’s critically-acclaimed 2022 movie Aftersun.