The prospect of a sequel to the hugely popular swords-and-sandals epic Gladiator has been on the back-burner for years now. According to producer Doug Wick, the reason for the delay is in large part due to the demise of Russel Crowe's protagonist, Maximus, at the movie's end, making the narrative for Gladiator 2 a real struggle creatively.
"Like any good movie, Gladiator works by the skin of its teeth, where this fight movie ends up adding up that way, and so, again, to take the best of what the audience is attached to, but make it fresh in some new incarnation, it's really challenging. And, of course, the leading man is dead. If you do Godfather, you say, 'Okay, the audience loves these stars in this wardrobe,' and you bring back the old team."
Aside from how to continue the story, scheduling conflicts have also been an issue, as well as those involved with the initial installment not wanting to craft a follow-up just for the sake of cashing in on the title. Still, Wick confirms that everyone is interested in returning, including director Ridley Scott.
"Ridley would love to do it. It's really all about getting something on paper. Everyone [involved with the original] loves the movie too much to ever consider cheaply exploiting it and making something that's a shadow of it. It's just really a clear creative problem, working on a script, and if we can ever get it to a place ... Ridley's working on it, it's really just a question of whether we can get it to a place where it feels worthy to make it. It's a real challenge."
It has been reported in the past that initially, Scott's plan for the sequel was vastly different from the first movie, with the idea to somehow resurrect Russell Crowe's intrepid commander-turned-gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius. This would have included a move towards fantasy and would have involved Maximus fighting his way through various periods of history. While it sounds like a massive divergence compared to the more grounded first movie, it is a very intriguing idea, sitting proudly atop the list of movies we'd love to see.
As time passed, Scott's plans were scrapped, with the Gladiator sequel instead looking to move past Maximus and focus on Connie Nielsen's character Lucilla's son, Lucius. During the events of the first Gladiator Lucius was just a boy, played by Glass' Spencer Treat Clark, so it stands to reason that Gladiator 2 would leap forward in time. Considering that one of the more recent updates regarding the movie courtesy of producer Walter F. Parkes is that the plan for the sequel is to "up the story 30 years later...25 years later" this certainly tracks.
Finally, Wick went on to joke about one of the ways in which Maximus could return. An idea that came from the headline star Russell Crowe himself.
"Russell's agent called me after the opening weekend, said, 'I've got a great idea. They take the body around the corner of the arena, Russell gets off the stretcher and says, "Hey, it worked," and they high-five. That would be the beginning of the next movie. He was pitching that it was a fake death so Russell could come back and do it."
That sounds just crazy enough to work. This comes to us from Comicbook.com.