Everything we know about Gladiator 2

Maximus Decimus Meridius sequelus

Gladiator 2. (Paramount)
Paul Mescal leads the charge in Gladiator 2. (Paramount)

“Are you not entertained?” Well, considering director Ridley Scott is currently hard at work on Gladiator 2, it looks like the answer is not nearly enough.

Despite 24 years having passed since Russell Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius conquered the Colosseum and grabbed the attention of cinema-goers around the world, a follow-up movie based in his sword and sandal world is on the way.

Scott may be 86 years old but the filmmaker’s infamous work ethic shows no signs of slowing as he gathers an impressive cast to take us back to Ancient Rome.

Speaking of which, you may remember that Crowe’s slave-turned-gladiator Maximus and Joaquin Phoenix’s sadistic emperor Commodus both perished in battle at the end of the last movie. With that in mind, it’s likely a safe bet that Scott’s new story will take viewers on a new adventure.

What adventure will this be, we hear you ask?

Well, first off: yes, we can read your thoughts — but secondly and more importantly, we’ve also rounded up all the key information you need to know about Gladiator 2, including its cast, plot details, release date and more so if you’re still not entertained, you hopefully will be soon.

Paul Mescal stars in Gladiator 2. (Paramount)
Gladiator 2 arrives in November. (Paramount)

Gladiator 2 is set for release on Friday, 15 November in both UK and US cinemas.

Gladiator 2. (Paramount)
The first Gladiator 2 trailer arrived in early July. (Paramount)

Echoes of the past run through the first trailer for Gladiator 2 which made its way into the online arena in early July 2024.

In it, we find ourselves in a new Rome with a new warrior with a score to settle and a pair of sadistic emperors pushing society to its limits for what looks to be their own amusement.

Gladiator 2. (Paramount)
Pedro Pascal plays Marcus Acacius in Gladiator 2. (Paramount)

Scott's Gladiator sequel will tell a story from Rome's next generation, picking up the story of Lucius, son of Lucilla, a character played by Connie Nielsen in the first film.

According to a report from Vanity Fair, we find Lucius living out his youth far away from Rome in Numidia with the reasons behind his exclusion from both his mother and the Roman Empire remaining murky. We find him with a wife and child before Roman forces eventually close in.

“He’s taken root in a seacoast town in Numidia. He’s a blue-eyed, fair-skinned man with red hair, and he couldn’t be more different from the inhabitants,” explains Scott. “It’s one of the last surviving civilizations, as the Romans begin to descend in North Africa and take it all over.”

Gladiator 2. (Paramount)
Paul Mescal plays Lucius in Gladiator 2. (Paramount)

At the forefront of this approaching force is Marcus Acacius, a Roman general who trained under Crowe's Maximus, linking the narrative together with that first film. Of Marcus, Mescal said that he "learned from the best, so of course this code of honor is ingrained into his training and into his existence. But at the end of the day, he’s a different person. And that can’t change who he is."

With Lucius eventually sent to Rome after a raid of Numidia, he discovers his mother during a battle in the arena. "He doesn’t know whether she’s alive or not. How would he know? You don’t have telephones. There’s no press," says Scott. "And there’s his mother in the royal box looking pretty good after 20 years. And she’s with the general who he came face-to-face with on the wall in Numidia.”

Pascal has described the film's action sequences as "pretty gnarly" with plenty of emotion hiding behind the surfaces of all its conflicts, both physical and psychological.

Gladiator 2. (Paramount)
Ridley Scott returns to helm Gladiator 2. (Paramount)

A sequel to Gladiator has long been rumoured and there have been many false starts over the years.

Both prequel and sequel ideas were kicked around in the years following Gladiator’s 2000 release, with a handful of screenwriters attached at various points but nothing substantial emerging.

Read more: Actors who were injured on Oscar-winning movies

Eventually, singer-songwriter Nick Cave was hired to pen a script that would have taken the story into a more fantastical realm. Joyfully named 'Christ Killer', Cave’s story would’ve reunited viewers with Maximus in the afterlife where he’s hired by the Roman Gods to return to Earth and stop the rise of Christianity in its tracks by killing Jesus.

Gladiator (Credit: DreamWorks)
Gladiator 2 has been in the works for a while. (DreamWorks)

The story would’ve eventually brought Crowe’s character through the ages and also various battles - from World War II and Vietnam, right the way up to the present day - but the idea was ultimately never released after Crowe reportedly wasn’t a fan of the idea.

After completing work on his upcoming Napoleon movie, Scott recruited the help of that film’s screenwriter, David Scarpa, to pen a new Gladiator 2 script. It is this script that Scott aims to bring to cinemas.

Paul Mescal joins Gladiator 2 as Lucius. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Paul Mescal joins Gladiator 2 as Lucius. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Aftersun star Paul Mescal joined the project in early 2023 as Lucius, son of Lucilla, the sister to Phoenix’s Commodus who was played by Connie Nielsen in the first film. Nielsen returns to play Lucius once more.

Pedro Pascal will play Marcus Acacius, Lucius's new enemy and his mother's new partner while his future Fantastic Four co-star Joseph Quinn will play Emperor Geta. Together with Thelma's Fred Hechinger as Emperor Emperor Caracalla, the pair form the sadistic sibling rulers of new Rome.

Meanwhile, Denzel Washington will play Macrinus, a character described as an "arms dealer" who oversees supplies to Europe. "Instead of having a stable of racehorses, he has a stable of gladiators," explains Scott.

Matt Lucas, May Calamawy and Lior Raz are also set to star although details of their roles is still under wraps.

Gladiator 2. (Paramount)
Denzel Washington plays Macrinus in Gladiator 2. (Paramount)

The Batman actor Barry Keoghan was due to play Emperor Geta but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. His role will now be played by The White Lotus season one star Fred Hechinger.

It’s still unclear whether Crowe or Phoenix will appear in the sequel but considering their fates in part one, it seems unlikely. Despite this, we can’t quite rule out an appearance via flashback or dream sequence.

Gladiator 2 will be released in UK cinemas on Friday, 22 November