Prepare to be entertained again as we return to the brutal world of Ancient Rome where the politics are even more savage and deadly than the battles in the arena. Back in 2000, Scott and his leading man defied every expectation to bring guts and glory back to the tired trope of ‘swords and sandals’ epics to the tune of box office glory and five Oscars. Many have tried and largely failed since to repeat the trick (best not to mention Kit Harington’s disastrous 2014 flop Pompeii) but demand has always been sky-high for a continuation of the Maximus Decimus Meridius saga. Except, of course, that he is dead…
After finally avenging his honour and ending the tyrannical rule of Joaquin Phoenix’s Emperor Commodus, Maximus died on the arena sands, to be reunited in the afterlife with his beloved wife and son, who had been slain at the start of the film.
However, Scott has always spoken about his hopes for a sequel and in the past two years has given exciting updates before news finally broke this week confirming production was about to begin.
Promoting House of Gucci in 2021, Scott told Empire: “I’m already having [the next] Gladiator written now. So when I’ve done Napoleon, Gladiator will be ready to go.”
According to sources in The Sun: “This has been building since 2018 and for a long time it looked like it may never see the light of day but suddenly late last year the production team really sprung into life after settling on a new script which seemed to inspire them.
“A few months later everything was up and running and now it’s well underway. They should be filming by May, which means there’s every chance the movie will be ready some time in 2024.”
Apparently, locations have been scouted around the Moroccan city of Ouarzazate. Everything from Lawrence of Arabia to Scott’s own Kingdom of Heaven and Game of Thrones has been filmed there.
But how will the new saga bring back it’s Oscar-winning star, who the entire original film was named for?
Famously, a “wild” script idea was submitted by Australian singer Nic Cave, where the ancient gods were angry about the rise of Christianity. They would reincarnate Maximus to battle a “Christ figure”
Cave said: “I wanted to call it Christ Killer and in the end, you find out that the main guy was his son so he has to kill his son and he was tricked by the gods. He becomes this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20-minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff… It was a stone-cold masterpiece.”
Much more likely will be some form of flashback featuring Crowe’s Maximus. Current reports suggest that the new film would be centred on Commodus’ young nephew, Lucius Verus, now grown up. He is the son of the emperor’s sister Lucilla, played by Connie Nielsen, who is expected to return.