2000’s Gladiator was a box office smash that also won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, so it should come as no surprise that there was interest in making a sequel. There was just one major problem — Russell Crowe’s gladiator, Maximus, died at the end of the film.
To get around this problem, the film’s producers and writers explored making a sequel set 15 years later that would focus on a grown-up Lucius. This idea, however, lost its luster when it ended up being more about the corruption of Rome than, you know, gladiators.
That’s when Russell Crowe stepped in. He was interested in playing Maximus again, and thought there might be a way to do it by exploring the Romans’ beliefs about the afterlife. So, along with director Ridley Scott, he hired Nick Cave (yes, the musician turned filmmaker) to write a script. The result was pretty out there to say the least, and involved the Roman gods sending Maximus back to earth to kill Jesus (yes, really) before, as Cave told Marc Maron on his podcast, Maximus becomes “this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20-minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff and it was wild.” (You can read the script here.)
Crowe and Scott decided not to proceed with that script, but a sequel isn’t off the table. Presently, a sequel again focusing on Lucius is in development.