Ridley Scott Says It Would Be 'Stupid Of Me' To Not Direct Gladiator 2

It's been over 20 years since the release of "Gladiator," Ridley Scott's sword-and-sandals epic starring Russell Crowe as the impressively named Maximus Decimus Meridius. Scott, however, is eager to return to the story of the Roman soldier turned slave and gladiator, and he's still talking up the potential sequel in the press.

"Gladiator" won Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe at the Academy Awards, and with it, Scott picked up his second of four nominations for Best Director. In a BBC interview on The Zoey Ball Breakfast Show (via ScreenRant), Scott addressed "Gladiator 2," saying it is "ready to go" after "Kitbag," his Apple TV+ Napoleon movie.

"Kitbag" reunites Scott with Joaquin Phoenix, who played the Roman emperor, Commodus, in "Gladiator." Like Siskel and Ebert in their heyday as film critics, Commodus held the power to save or condemn with his uber-dramatic, pollice verso thumbs up or thumbs down. "Gladiator" fans, fear not, because Scott himself gives "Gladiator 2" a big thumbs up. He said, "How could I not do that? It would be critically stupid of me not to do that, wouldn't it?"

All things considered, Scott is having a good year. Despite disappointing box-office returns for "The Last Duel," he earned positive reviews for the film and has already got another movie, "House of Gucci," starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, lined up for release later this month. It's not so different from 2017, when he juggled the release of both "Alien: Covenant" and "All the Money in the World," the latter of which required the last-minute replacement of Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer after Spacey's #MeToo downfall.

If you were hoping to see an "Alien Covenant" sequel with Scott at the helm, it sounds like "Gladiator 2" is a higher priority for him.

Maximus Will Have His Revenge

Scott is always juggling various projects, but "Gladiator 2" is one particular ball that he's had in the air for two decades now. One of the most memorable quotes from the film comes when Maximus, the victorious gladiator, removes his helmet in the arena and re-introduces himself to Commodus and the crowd, saying:

"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."

The funny thing is, Maximus died at the end of "Gladiator," and one of the ideas that was being bandied about for the sequel would indeed have followed him through the afterlife. Nick Cave wrote the draft of a script called "Christ Killer, which featured Maximus in purgatory. He gets resurrected by the Roman gods to kill Jesus Christ and his disciples. Cursed with immortality, he then goes on to live through the Crusades, World War II, and the Vietnam War, before going to work at the Pentagon.

That bonkers script was ultimately rejected, and we don't know what shape the new iteration of "Gladiator 2" will take. But if and when this sequel does finally come together, it will be interesting to see how they approach it and what level of involvement, if any, Crowe will have.