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Ignoring hobbit trilogies, there are no recent movie productions that have received the combined critical and box office achievements of 2000's Gladiator. The Russell Crowe epic earned $187.7 million in domestic release and $456.3 million worldwide. It garnered 12 Academy Award nominations, winning five, including the prestigious Best Actor for Crowe and, most importantly, Best Picture. A sequel is an easy call for the studio, right?
Not so fast. There is the small matter of Maximum and Commodus dying at the end of the movie. Making a Gladiator sequel sans a Gladiator is theoretically an impossible proposition. With half a billion dollars being the possible return on investment, stubbornness is apparently going to prevail as DreamWorks has announced Gladiator 2 is a go.
The first logical question is whether this franchise will follow The Mummy/Scorpion King tactic of having a prequel for a slain character. For an extended period of time, this was considered the most likely pursuit for all involved as it would allow for the return of Russell Crowe. Recently, though, returning director Ridley Scott has confirmed that the production will instead be a sequel without Maximus or Commodus.
There will, however, be some returning characters. Cassius, the last remaining heir of Marcus Aurelius, was last seen as a little boy hiding behind the skirt of his mommy, Lucilla (Connie Nielsen). To prevent the boy from growing up as crazy and evil as Uncle Commodus, Lucilla may look into having him receive gladiator and life lessons from Guy Friday. This role would again be played by Djimon Hounsou, who has spent his time between Gladiators becoming a 2004 Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for In America.
No matter the details, the one aspect of the movie that is clear is that a conscious decision will be made to move away from the action and heavily toward the politics of governing in Ancient Rome. Gladiator 2: less gladiating, more misspellings of praetorian. (David Mumpower/BOP)