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Gladiator 2's New Story Is So Much Better Than Its Silly Maximus Plan

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 1/29/2023 Brad Curran
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Gladiator 2 is finally happening with a much better story than the original plan for Maximus. Ridley Soctt's Gladiator debuted in 2000 and was a massive hit, with Russell Crowe rising to stardom from his portrayal of the heroic general-turned-gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius. In addition to its box office and critical success, Gladiator would take home numerous awards at the 73rd Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Crowe and Best Picture.

While Gladiator 2 has been in development hell since the release of its predecessor, the sequel is finally gaining traction with David Scarpa scripting and Paul Mescal portraying an adult version of the young Lucius Verus (played in Gladiator by Spencer Treat Clark). While the story that Lucius will embark upon in Gladiator 2 is unknown, it already looks to be a much more compelling idea than the original journey Maximus was going to return for. Lucius himself is also the ideal choice for a character to succeed Maximus as the hero of Gladiator 2.

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Lucius (Not Maximus) Is The Best Main Character For Gladiator 2

The ending of Gladiator shows that Lucius, rather than Maximus, is the character with more adventures ahead of him. The original concept for Gladiator 2 saw Maximus resurrected as a warrior for the Roman gods, with Maximus fighting in various events throughout history, like the Crusades and World War II, before finally arriving in the modern-day Pentagon in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, this was out of step with the arc Maximus goes through in Gladiator of achieving his vengeance against Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), freeing Rome from his dictatorial rule, and being reunited with his wife and son in the afterlife.

Lucius, on the other hand, is enthralled by the warrior's might Maximus displays as a gladiator. With Lucius being a younger secondary character in Gladiator, there is much greater potential to build on the open book that his story offers. With Lucius being inspired by Maximus's battles in the Colosseum as "The Spaniard," the guiding spirit of Maximus can take him in numerous different directions.

What Lucius' Story In Gladiator 2 Could Be

As the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and nephew of Commodus, Lucius is already Roman royalty, so Gladiator 2 could show him becoming the new Caesar of Rome who re-establishes the Roman Republic that Maximus and Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) believed in. That does not mean that Lucius will necessarily start from there, and his idolization of Maximus, and the nature of Gladiator 2 itself, seems likely to take him into the gladiatorial arena. The motivation of Lucius could be where his story really diverges from that of Maximus, with Lucius being more naturally drawn to gladiatorial combat than Maximus was.

Unlike Maximus and other gladiators in Roman history, Lucius might be more likely to voluntarily enter the Colosseum to achieve the glory he once witnessed as a child. Through such a trial by combat, Lucius might finally come to understand what Maximus was fighting for and become determined to honor his memory by completing his mission. Lucius might have once looked up to Maximus, but Gladiator 2 could show him gaining a newfound respect for his childhood hero that could only be born out of the Colosseum.

More: Gladiator Director's Cut Makes Promixo's Advice To Maximus Even Better


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