In 2000's Gladiator, the heroic Maximus triumphs over the emperor despite suffering fatal injuries and ultimately meeting his demise, with producer of the film Doug Wick revealing that the creative challenges posed by this narrative are the exact reasons progress on a sequel has stagnated, despite reports dating back to 2018 claiming that the project was moving forward. The original film was directed by Ridley Scott, who is interested in helming the sequel, with the script challenges and Scott's schedule just being some of the roadblocks that the project faces, in addition to those involved with the initial installment not wanting to craft a follow-up just for the sake of cashing in on the title.
"Ridley would love to do it. It's really all about getting something on paper," Wick confirmed to ComicBook.com. "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."
He added, "But it's also a real writing problem, too. 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."
One of the last updates on the project came last year from producers Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes, who claimed the story would take place 25-30 years after the original.
Gladiator won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. Given the power of Russell Crowe's performance, many fans would expect to see him return in some capacity, which is complicated by his character's death. Wick went on to joke about one of the ways in which Maximus could return.
"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,'" Wick recalled. "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."
As we wait for any updates on a Gladiator sequel, you can grab the 20th-anniversary 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBook on June 16th.
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