Gladiator 2 is really happening, according to an exclusive report from Deadline that can confirm Paul Mescal is in negotiations to star in the sequel for Paramount as Lucius Verus, son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla, now grown up following the events of the original 2000 blockbuster from Ridley Scott that ended with Roman-general-turned-gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russel Crowe) and Lucius’ false-emperor uncle, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), fighting to the death in a tense Colosseum match.
“Sources tell Deadline that Normal People star Paul Mescal is in negotiations to lead the Paramount sequel to the Oscar-winning pic, with Scott returning to the directing chair. Scott also will produce,” Deadline reported, adding that David Scarpa, whose writing credits include The Man in the High Castle and 2008’s The Day the Earth Stood Still remake with Keanu Reeves, was responsible for penning the script.
“Also returning from the original film are costume designer Janty Yates and production designer Arthur Max,” the publication added.
It’s unclear whether Maximus might return in the film, potentially in a flashback scene, but critics of Crowe are suggesting that’s probably for the best, with the actor being in a much different shape these days, as seen in recent features that include Thor: Love and Thunder and Unhinged, a 2020 thriller in which the actor stars as an unstable man who chases a woman after a road rage incident.
There also seems to be no indication yet as to whether Hans Zimmer, who composed the award-winning and fan-favorite score to 2000’s Gladiator, will return and do the same for its upcoming sequel from Ridley Scott.
According to the filmmaker’s IMDb page, Scott, 85, has at least 20 projects in the pipeline, including TV shows set in the Alien and Blade Runner franchises.