In recent years, Ridley Scott has either directed or produced prequels to his two signature films, Alien (Prometheus and Alien: Covenant) and Blade Runner (2049). So why not go for a sequel trifecta? Now he’s reportedly developing a sequel to his Oscar Best Picture winner, Gladiator.

Per Deadline, the film would not feature Russell Crowe’s Maximus, in part because he is, uh, dead:

While Crowe’s Maximus character met his end in the classic original film, Gladiator 2 will follow the continuing story of Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), The youth was the nephew of Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the weaselly son of Roman leader Marcus Aurelius who murdered his father seized the throne and wound up in the gladiator ring with Maximus, who though mortally wounded, skewered the emperor before fading into the great beyond to reunite with his slain wife and son. Maximus saved the boy and his mother while avenging his own family, and left a strong impression on the young Lucius.

This is not the first time a Gladiator 2 has been attempted. Shortly after the first film won the Academy Award and made millions at the box office, producers tried to figure out a way to continue the story, even going so far as develop a script that would bring Russell Crowe back even though his character was, y’know, dead.

The Gladiator 2 screenplay that was eventually scrapped is one of the all-time great WTF ideas. It involved Maximus being reincarnated and then returning to Rome; allegedly (I’ve never read the script, but you can read synopses of it online) Maximus would then be “transported to other important periods in history, including World War II, the Vietnam War, and finally being a general in the modern-day Pentagon.” I can’t imagine why this idea didn’t get off the ground! Focusing on Maximus’ son sounds like a much more plausible premise for a sequel.

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