Filmmaker Ridley Scott is undoubtedly one of the greatest directors of a generation and he has no plans to step off the gas just yet. As well as lining up The Last Duel and House of Gucci for release this year, the director told Empire magazine that he will begin working on his sequel to the Russell Crowe epic Gladiator once he has finished shooting Kitbag, the Napoleon Bonaparte feature led by another Gladiator star, Joaquin Phoenix. It was reported three years ago that Scott was planning on going ahead with a follow-up to the Oscar-winning, critically acclaimed Gladiator but this is the first time that Scott had placed the movie in his production timeline.
It has been rumored that even though he has yet to start working on Kitbag, that movie is expected to release in 2023, so this would set the Gladiator sequel somewhere in 2024 or later. It will join a series of historical epics coming from the Alien director, whose career now spans five decades. While discussing Kitbag, which also features Killing Eve star Jodie Comer, Scott told the magazine, “I’m already having [the next] Gladiator written now. So when I’ve done Napoleon, Gladiator will be ready to go.”
The 83-year-old has had a string of smash hit movies in the last decade, including two Alien prequel movies in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, The Martian, and the John Paul Getty film All the Money in the World, but Gladiator is still one of his most praised movies with both critics and audiences. The film had an epic $103 million budget but grossed over $460 million and picked up five Academy Awards including Best Picture. Scott was nominated in the Best Director category, but was beaten to that honor by Steven Soderbergh who won for Traffic. While it is not the kind of movie that automatically lends itself to a sequel, especially when the protagonist meets his demise in the final act, it was revealed in a report by Deadline back in 2018 exactly how the story would progress in the sequel.
Gladiator 2 will follow Lucius, the nephew of Commodus, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix in the original story. In the final act of Gladiator, Commodus met his end at the hands of a mortally wounded Maximus, played by Crowe, who then himself passed on to be reunited with his wife in the great beyond. Through his act, Maximus was responsible for saving Lucius, and his mother Lucilla, while gaining his much sought after vengeance for the deaths of his own family. The sequel will find out just how strong and lasting an impression Maximus’s actions had on the young boy’s future. Chris Hemsworth is rumored for the cast, possibly to play Maximus’ son.
The report suggested that Peter Craig, who has been responsible for the scripts of two of The Hunger Games movies, as well as the still delayed Top Gun: Maverick, will be writing the sequel, while Paramount were on board, with Universal, who distributed the original movie, having an option to co-finance. Obviously more information on the project will become available when it finally begins production, expectedly sometime in the next year or two.
Ridley Scott’s next release, The Last Duel, which stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer, received its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, and arrives in U.S. theaters on October 15th. This comes to us from Empire.