In the year 2000, Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning film Gladiator rejuvenated the film epic genre. Set in the ancient Roman Empire, the movie introduced us to the best fictional gladiator to ever strike our screens, Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe). With blood, sweat and skills, Maximus rose to the top and defeated the evil emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) in the Colosseum, but not before receiving a poisonous cut that ended up killing him after his victory.
But death is not the end, at least in cinema.
During this year's SXSW, the acclaimed director revealed that he never discarded the idea of doing a Gladiator sequel. He even stated that he knows how to bring Maximus back from the dead. But now, Scott has revealed exactly how the resurrection would ensue.
'Gladiator 2' Takes A Supernatural Spin
While speaking with Me.Movies, Scott said that Gladiator 2 would revolve around a script that musician Nick Cave penned several years ago, which explored the afterlife and the possibility of reincarnation:
"It was about bringing [Maximus] back. It’s a good idea. [Russel Crowe] said, ‘listen, I’ve got some thoughts. What can we do with Gladiator?’ and I said, ‘well I think I can bring you back.’ That’s how it began. He’d been working with Nick Cave, so then we talked, the three of us, and out of it evolved the screenplay.
"You know I can bring him back, I know how to bring him back. I talked him [Crowe] into how I bring him back. I used the [body] of a dying warrior as a portal to bring somebody back."
In Cave's script, Maximus dwells in the afterlife and meets ancient Roman deities. His spirit later resurfaces in the body of a dying Christian martyr. The movie then goes to have Maximus lead a Christian rebel army and discover that his son is still alive. Unfortunately in this script, Djimon Honsou's character, Juba, dies.
It is an interesting take on the Gladiator narrative indeed, as the original movie only touched upon the subject of religion and the supernatural slightly. (In the movie Maximus prays to his ancestors and to the Roman deities.) This begs the question of whether Scott would branch out Gladiator into a franchise, one that deals with more supernatural and fantastical subjects.
What made Gladiator one of the best films of the previous decade was how much the film was grounded into reality, effectively resonating with audiences. This is also true of Scott's other films based in antiquity, like Exodus: Gods and Kings. (Though this film was not positively received by both critics and audiences, for other reasons entirely.)
For now it seems we won't be seeing Gladiator 2 anytime soon, with Scott stating that the script is currently on a shelf at DreamWorks. And Russell Crowe is currently busy building Universal's monster-verse. Plus, according to Scott, Crowe has aged a bit since he last donned the armor. Of course, that's nothing a little CGI can't handle.
What do you think? Do you want to see Russell Crowe pick up the sword again as a resurrected Maximus? Let me know in the comments below!