We're Getting A 'Gladiator' Sequel, But Not The One We Need
Presumably having recently watched Fury Road with his grandkids, Ridley Scott has decided that now's a good time to revive his own story of some Australian dude named Max beating guys to death while up to his ankles in sand. That's right, it's time for Gladiator II, movie of a forgotten genre, sequel of a forgotten film, and it will have its disappointing Rotten Tomatoes score, in this life or the next.
Gladiator, famous for being the first ever movie to include its own tl;dr, saw a vaguely accented Russell Crowe portray Roman gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius, set on a vendetta to kill the evil Emperor Commodus. And while its story had a definite and unambiguous ending, Deadline has broken the news that the 20-year-old movie is getting a sequel, directed by Scott and written by Peter Craig, who between this and the upcoming Top Gun sequel has really cornered the market on movie revivals aimed at divorced dads.
Of course, there is a slight continuity problem with a sequel to Gladiator -- namely that the movie's main characters / big stars all murdered each other in the last five minutes. So instead of continuing the very much closed story of Maximus, the sequel will jump forward in time to focus on the heroic story of Lucius. You remember Lucius? The awkward kid who couldn't read social cues and blankly stared into the middle distance while his emperor uncle tried to bang his mom? Apparently, adult Lucius has decided to model his life on that guy he briefly met, whose family was brutally murdered and who bled out in an arena, and become a gladiator. Sounds exactly like the kind of character deserving of whichever Hemsworth brother's abs they'll use to fill out the role.
Not that Gladiator II can't turn into an amazing movie; it's just that it'll never match the sheer awesomeness of the Gladiator sequel that never was. Right after the original raided both the box office and the Oscars, plenty of people wanted to make a follow-up. That included Crowe, despite his character being as dead as an Iron Age door nail. To get around that, he contacted, of all people, singer-songwriter Nick Cave, and told him to write a spec Gladiator sequel in which Maximus was still around somehow. Cave (who's also a very talented writer) took this as a license to get weird with it.
The screenplay Cave handed to Crowe told the tale of a dead Maximus who's sent back to Earth by the Roman gods to wipe out "Christ and his followers," because the upstart religion is sapping the pantheon of their god-juices. Once back, Maximus has to take on Lucius (you know, from the last paragraph), who has become a mad emperor himself, hosting naval battles in the Colosseum and mourning his electrocuted giraffe. Maximus also discovers that this Christ guy is in fact his own son who also died in the first movie, and together they form an army of Christian soldiers to stop Emperor Lucius. But Maximus becomes too warlike, and the movie ends with him being cursed to roam the Earth as an eternal warrior, fighting in all of history's greatest wars for all time, like that other Australian dude did in that movie about an eternal warrior.
Naturally, Crowe wasn't a fan. In fact, the only feedback Cave got was a concise "Don't like it, mate." But maybe now that the actor knows he's not going to star in the actual sequel, he'll have a change of heart and we might still get to experience Cave's ... Christ Killer? Yeah, probably not.
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