There was a time perhaps, when studios made movies that they were perfectly fine with keeping as a self-contained standalone production. The driving plot was resolved before the credits rolled, and anything else they showed in the end that hinted at continuing the narrative was either too minor or a mere Easter egg. Now the trend seems to be making movies that will either have numbered/subtitled sequels, or will tie into another differently-titled film set in a shared universe. Filmmakers could even go back to one-and-done movies from the past and make up sequels for them, like Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator”.
Celebrated director-producer Ridley Scott may have decided that his 2000 epic historical drama set in the Roman Empire had enough material left in the setting and characters after its climactic conclusion to make a sequel of. This was revealed to USA Today by inside sources involved in the still-embryonic project, but cannot openly make statements about it. The original film, starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, not only dominated the global box office with $460 million, and earned multiple Oscar nominations and victories (Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe among them), it also became a popular source of movie quotes that have become memes, such as a lengthy declaration of vengeance and the hammy question “Are you not entertained?”
“Gladiator” told the story of Crowe’s Roman legatus Maximus, who fell from grace following the bloody ascension of Emperor Commodus (Phoenix) and was reduced to a slave trained to fight in gladiatorial contests, while planning to avenge the disproportionate murder of his family. One of the major stumbling blocks perhaps, to producing a continuation to the 2000 film, was that both main character and main antagonist died by each other’s hands in the denouement, leaving only a miracle to bring them back after their ends.
Perhaps that is why the sequel, to be written by Peter Craig of “The Hunger Games” and the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick”, would shift the spotlight to a minor character from the original who lived through that narrative. Lucius, the boy child of Commodus’ sister Lucilla (played then by Connie Nielsen) is being developed as the new main character, older and apparently made to undergo the same ordeals as his mother’s former lover Maximus, though how this goes about has not yet been made known.
No further information on release has been provided regarding the progress of conceptualizing “Gladiator 2”, and this sequel is only one of several future movie projects that Ridley Scott is known to be working on.
Image courtesy of Coming Soon.net