Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is now considered one of the best historical epics ever. Unfortunately, its star won’t be returning for the sequel. The long-in-development Gladiator 2 is going to be helmed once again by director Ridley Scott. But Crowe doesn’t generally make sequels, and the story of the film doesn’t necessarily lend itself to an appearance by his character anyway.

Russell Crowe recently appeared on an episode of the podcast Fitzy And Wippa to speak a bit about the sequel. It turns out that he actually knows a good bit about the production and has had dinner with Scott recently, but no kind of partnership materialized.

He explained...

Yeah we’ve had dinner and talked about it and all that stuff. So I know roughly how he’s shaping the story. But yeah, if you remember, there was a young kid who wanted to beat the Gladiator, which leads to the ‘My name is’ speech. So that young kid has grown up, and he’s now the Emperor. I don't know what else happens at that point, so that’s the idea. So it’s not a remake.

Crowe’s character, Maximus, died in the original film, so that would seemingly preclude him making an appearance in this sequel. Or maybe not; for many years, there was a Gladiator sequel in development that would have starred Crowe and seen his character get resurrected from the afterlife and rejoin his son in the real world. Other drafts of the movie reportedly included Jesus Christ as a character — and possibly an opponent! — of Maximus. In this version Maximus would have supposedly become an immortal, and survived to see the fall of Rome, and then lived through countless other wars up to the present day.

The story for the sequel they’re actually making now takes place a while after Maximus dies. And with Crowe not returning for this film it will instead star Aftersun actor Paul Mescal, supposedly as Maximus’ adult son.

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