Gladiator 2: Release, Cast and Everything We Know

By Klein Felt Posted:
Gladiator, Pedro Pascal, Russell Crowe, Joseph Quinn

After more than 20 years, director Ridley Scott is headed back into the Roman coliseum for Gladiator 2

The legendary filmmaker will finally revisit the world of his iconic 2000 epic, Gladiator, harkening back to the Rome-centric epics of Hollywood's golden age (i.e. Spartacus and Ben-Hur). 

The upcoming sequel is written by Napoleon and All the Money in the World (both Ridley Scott films) scribe David Scarpa, and it will tell the story of a grown Lucius, better known as the child saved by Russell Crowe's Maximus in the first film. 

So with Gladiator 2 on the horizon, here is everything we know about Ridley Scott's hotly anticipated sequel. 

When Will Gladiator 2 Release?

Gladiator, Russell Crowe, Djimon Hounsou

Gladiator 2 is currently scheduled to hit theaters worldwide on November 22, 2024. 

The project has been more than 20 years in the making after first being officially announced back in 2002. This initial version of the story would have also followed an older Lucius set 15 years after the events of the first movie. 

However, development of that early 2000s version of the Gladiator sequel was ultimately halted in 2006 as Dreamworks sold off its pre-2006 live-action IP to Paramount (via CBS). 

In 2018, the sequel was officially greenlit at Paramount after years on the back burner. In 2019, producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald told MovieWeb they were "working with Ridley Scott" on the project with writer Peter Craig:

"We're working with Ridley Scott, 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."

Craig's script was eventually scrapped with Napoloeon writer David Scarpa stepping in to pen the script. 

Filming on Gladiator 2 began in June 2023, but production was ultimately halted due to the ongoing Screen Actors Guild of America (SAG-AFTRA) strike.

On filming coming to a stop one source told Variety (via World of Reel), "There was just this sadness," as many people are out of a job until Gladiator 2 production can resume:

“There was just this sadness, We were completely out of the politics and just invested in the work. Now, a lot of people are going to lose their livelihoods, won’t be able to keep up home payments, school payments.”

Because of this production freeze, the Gladiator sequel could eventually be delayed and forced to miss its November 2024 release date, depending on how long SAG-AFTRA job action continues. 

Is Russell Crowe's Maximus in Gladiator 2?

Russell Crowe, Maximus, Gladiator
Russell Crowe

Spoiler alert for those who have not seen the original Gladiator film - its star Russell Crowe's Maximus does not make it out of that first movie, so a return in the sequel seems unlikely.

After taking down the villainous Commodus in the Colosseum arena, Crowe's Roman hero succumbs to his own wounds, meaning the character could not return (at least in the current timeline) in Gladiator 2

That has not stopped Crowe from commenting on the sequel though. The Gladiator actor told Collider in an April 2023 interview that he was "slightly jealous" about not being a part of the film:

"I mean, look, the only thing that I really feel about it is slightly jealous, you know? Because I was a much younger man, obviously, and it was a huge experience in my life. It’s something that changed my life, really. It changed the way people regarded me and what I do for a living, and, you know, I’ve been very lucky to be involved in lots of big movies, but the legs on that film are incredible. Here it is, it’s 2023, and we made that film in 1999. I guarantee you, somewhere around the world tonight, Gladiator is going to be showing on primetime TV. And you don’t always get that kind of longevity with every film you do, so, it obviously holds a special place in my heart."

Despite his character's death in Gladiator, there have been numerous reports of a cameo from the actor in the Ridley Scott sequel.

During production Crowe was spotted in Malta where filming was going on, be he remains adamant he was there for an entirely different reason. He said he was invited on set, describing (via Deadline) that being there was "like a time warp:"

“I looked across to Fort Ricasoli, and the Colosseum’s been built there again, just like it was in 1999. I tell you, man, it was like a time warp — for a couple of seconds there, I was like, ‘What year is this? Where are we?’  “I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting that that they would rebuild the Colosseum in the exact same place."

When prodded about his potential role in the film he added, "I don’t know anything:"

“I don’t know anything about the cast, I don’t know anything about the plot. Well, I wouldn’t, would I? ‘Cause I’m dead!"

Who is Cast in Gladiator 2?

Gladiator, Russell Crowe, Djimon Hounsou

Several names have been confirmed and rumored to appear in Gladiator 2, but with filming having officially commenced (although it has been put on hold due to the SAG-AFTRA strike), fans have gotten a clearer picture of who will appear in the Roman epic. 

One star that was initially attached to the project was Eternals' and The Batman's Barry Keoghan. The Irish acting phenom was originally set to play Emporer Geta in the sequel but he ultimately had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. 

Here's a list of every confirmed actor and their characters set to appear in Gladiator 2:

Paul Mescal - Lucius

Paul Mescal
Paul Mescal

After being a key supporting character in Gladiator, Lucius Verus (this time played by Paul Mescal) will take center stage in Gladiator 2. Lucius was a nephew of the first film's villain, Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus, and became quite close with the gladiator known as Maximus (Russell Crowe's character), watching them both perish at the hands of each other.

Paul Mescal is one of the brightest young stars currently working in Hollywood. The actor is best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in 2022's Aftersun.

Fred Hechinger - Emperor Geta

Fred Hechinger
Fred Hechinger

Set to take on the role of the real-life Roman emperor Geta is Fred Hechinger. Geta historically ruled over Rome alongside his father and brother, which brought about plenty of murderous political tension between his family members. One can assume Geta's vying for power will be at the center of Gladiator 2's Roman plot. 

Fred Hechinger is familiar to audiences of HBO's White Lotus Season 2 as well, Hulu's Pam & Tommy miniseries, and the Bo Burnham-directed comedy Eighth Grade

Connie Nielsen - Lucilla

Connie Nielsen, Hippolyta, Lucilla
Connie Nielsen

The former lover of Maixmus, Lucilla will return for Gladiator 2. Reprising her Gladiator role is Connie Nielsen as the former flame of Russell Crowe's Maximus, mother of Lucius, and sister to the villainous Commodus. It is unknown how she will play into the sequel's plot, as the tension between her and Crowe's now-deceased gladiator was such a key part of the first movie.

Nielsen has had a storied career in Hollywood, appearing in other films such as Devil's Advocate and DC's Wonder Woman.

Derek Jacobi - Senator Gracchus

Derek Jacobi, Senator Gracchus
Derek Jacobi

Derek Jacbi's Senator Gracchus will also return in Gladiator 2. While not the big bad of Gladiator, Gracchus served as a secondary antagonist, working under the blood-thirsty Emporer Commodus. Perhaps the sequel will see the character yet again trying to wiggle his way close to power working alongside Emperor Geta. 

Derek Jacobi can be seen in Netflix's The Sandman, Disney's live-action Cinderella remake, and The Crown.

Djimon Hounsou - Juba

Djimon Hounsou, Juba
Djimon Hounsou

Djimon Hounsou's Juba will return in Gladiator 2. The Nubian hunter and slave to a Roman handler was also a gladiator, befriending Russell Crowe's Maximus and being granted his freedom from slavery as one of Maximus' last wishes. 

Hounsou is best known for his work in Guardians of the Galaxy, both Shazam! movies, and most recently Gran Turismo.

Denzel Washington - Unknown

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington is set to appear in Gladiator 2, although his character has yet to be confirmed. He is reported to co-star in the film alongside Paul Mescal, so surely he will be getting plenty of screen time. 

Washington is a two-time Oscar-winning actor for his performances in Glory and Training Day and can be seen in other films like Flight, Malcolm X, and The Book of Eli.

Pedro Pascal - Unknown

Pedro Pascal
Pedro Pascal

Also joining the Gladiator 2 cast is Pedro Pascal. No information is currently known about Pascal's role in the film. One theory is that the actor will play either the father of Fred Hechinger's Emperor Geta or a gladiatorial villain for the film. 

Pascal has shot to superstardom over the past decade, appearing in megahits such as Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman 1984, The Mandalorian, and HBO's The Last of Us

Joseph Quinn

Joseph Quinn
Joseph Quinn

Joesph Quinn will jump aboard the Gladiator 2 train as well, in a mystery role. Some have speculated Quinn could play the brother/joint Emperor with Hechinger's Geta, Caracalla. 

Quinn will be most familiar to fans of the hit Netflix streaming series Stranger Things, where he plays the lovable heavy metal rocker Eddie Munson. He also appeared as Koner in HBO's Game of Thrones.

May Calamawy

May Calamawy, Layla
May Calamawy

Another newcomer to the Gladiator series is May Calamawy, whose role has also yet to be announced. 

Calamaway's past credits include Marvel's Moon Knight and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

What Will the Plot of Gladiator 2 Be?

Russell Crowe, Maximus, Gladiator

Plot specifics remain very much a mystery when is comes to Gladiator 2; however, a few small details have managed to make themselves out since the film's initial announcement. 

Ridley Scott's Roman sequel will follow an all-grown-up Lucius (this time played by Paul Mescal), the nephew of Commodus and admirer of Maximus from the first film. 

One can assume the film will see Lucius follow in Maximus' footsteps, becoming a fierce Roman warrior himself.

Mescal previously hinted towards his character's gladiatorial ambitions, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "This guy’s got to fight and got to be a beast," so surely, that is where the upcoming sequel is headed:

"Of course, there’s a physical robustness required for the character, but past that, I’m not interested. This guy’s got to fight and got to be a beast. And whatever that looks and feels like is right for me is what it’s going to be."

It has also been potentially teased the film will see the assent of Lucius to the emperor of the Roman Empire. Speaking on an interview with The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio One, Russell Crowe said he sees the sequel as an "extension of the narrative" from the first movie, one where "a young Lucius, [steps] into the role of emperor:"

"It’s an extension of the narrative, but it is long beyond Maximus’s passing, so it doesn’t really involve me at all. I hear that young fella Paul is a good dude and I wish him the best of luck with it. I think where they're picking the story up from, a young Lucius, stepping into the role of emperor. I think that's a very smart idea within the world of the film that we created," he says. "You know, no doubt I'll end up having hundreds of friends of mine working on it. I already know designers and leather workers making the armor and things like that."

Is a Gladiator 2 Trailer Out Yet?

Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator

No Gladiator 2 trailer has been made public yet, but one should be on the way soon. 

Given the film's currently "on hold" status due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, a trailer will likely not debut until more filming can be completed by Ridley Scott and his team. 

However, seeing as the Gladiator sequel is set to premiere in theaters in November 2024, a trailer will have to come out sooner rather than later. 

If Paramount wanted to tie the trailer release of Gladiator 2 with one of its upcoming films, there are two movies that feel like the perfect candidates. 

Bob Marley: One Love - the upcoming Bob Marley biopic starring Secret Invasion's Kingsley Ben-Adir - is set to release in January, so that may be a bit early. But seeing as it is one of the studio's tentpole releases of 2024, a Gladiator trailer alongside it would make some sense. 

The other (more likely) candidate would be with the release of Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 2 on June 28, 2024. This would be roughly five months before Gladiator 2's November release date, which feels like the perfect time for the studio to start the sequel's marketing cycle. 

Gladiator 2 is set to come to theaters on November 22, 2024. 

- In This Article: Gladiator 2
Release Date
November 22, 2024
Denzel Washington
Paul Mescal
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.