This was the culmination of one of the most surprising movies in recent memory winning ‘Best Picture’ Oscar in 2000. Gladiator brought us General Maximus Decimus Meridius played brilliantly and fiercely by Russell Crowe. The future Joker Joaquin Phoenix plays Commodus, mortal foe of the fabled general turned slave turned gladiator.
As he is eulogized by fellow gladiator Juba, played by the captivating Djimon Hounsou, he echoes his noted words in the films that he believes he will see his friend again…but not yet.
Evidently, we didn’t realize what kind of foreshadowing Ridley Scott was directing just then as we hear about the much anticipated sequel, currently known as Gladiator 2. Many thought (hoped, really) it would be a prequel to get the origin of Maximus, but alas, Scott confirmed it will be a sequel.
This week (at the time of this post), we discovered it would involve a significant flash forward in time of 25 years.
Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald were interviewed by HeyUGuys on a press junket for Men in Black: International when they were asked about an earlier work (via executive production) of theirs nearly 20 years ago.
I mean, it has been 20 years since we last saw Maximus and Lucius. Makes sense, so why not make in a real-to-life timeline? After all, the man, the legend is riding shotgun on this project.
We’re working with Ridley, that’s one we wouldn’t touch unless we felt in a way to do it was legitimate. We’re working with an amazing writer as well, Peter Craig.
In case you didn’t click on the Deadline report above, the focal point of the sequel will be young Lucius, son of Connie Nielsen’s character Lucilla from the original film. Of course, that makes him the nephew of the ruthless and jealously enraged Commodus. We will find a grown Lucius influenced by his hero Maximus and plagued by the ghost of his uncle.
As Hollywood would have it, Ridley Scott was influenced by reality but created some fiction. Lucilla, Commodus, and even Marcus Aurelius were real people. The family dynamic was that jacked up, to a point. Maximus was a work of fiction, as will be that of an adult life of Lucius.
IRL, Lucius Verus II died even before Commodus became emperor, so anything we see should be beyond belief…and who can’t wait for that?!