Gladiator 2 has been on Ridley Scott’s mind for a long time. But why make a sequel to a self-contained historical epic about a character who dies at the end of the first film? That’s the big question.

Now some 20 years later, Scott is finally making the film. Production was already underway when the actors’ strike began; now that the strike is concluded, Scott is getting ready to get back to work and finish the roughly 90 minutes of the movie still left to film. He spoke with Deadline to discuss the first Gladiator movie, and revealed the reason he did decide to at last make the sequel and it was ... what you might expect:

Well, economically, it makes sense. That always begins there. I thought the [first] film was, as it were, completely satisfactory, creatively complete, so why muck with it, right? But these cycles keeps going on and on and on, they repeat globally for the last 20 years. It started to spell itself out as an obvious thing to do, and that’s how it evolved.

 

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Scott added that the hardest part of the movie was “getting the footprint right with the writer. There was a very obvious way to go, which was who’s the survivor? Well, the survivor could be Connie, Marcus’ daughter, but what’s even more interesting, and therefore a double whammy, there’s the son. Whatever happened to him?”

He also noted that casting the son of Maximus, the character played in the original film by Russell Crowe, was even harder than finding Crowe the first time around. The role eventually went to actor Paul Mescal. As to why he landed the role, Scott explained...

I’m always looking for someone, something new and fresh. I mean, fresh is terribly important. So they’re not carrying … baggage is a terrible word for what they’ve done before, because it’s great stuff, but you will remember he just did this character already. I watched this show called Normal People. It’s unusual for me, but I saw one and thought, that’s interesting ... So this came up at a time when I need a 23 year old, 24 year old to take up the mantle of Lucius. And I just said, you want to do it? He said, yeah.

Gladiator 2 is currently scheduled to open in theaters on November 22, 2024.

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Gallery Credit: Claire Epting

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