Gladiator was great – lots of chariots, heads getting chopped off and walking around arenas with arms outstretched like a Roman Billy Big Bollocks. It also had a wonderfully upsetting finale that definitely didn’t make me cry, no siree! But not only was it a bit sad, it was also pretty final – can’t really come back from having your loaf merked off, can you? And also, why would you want to, when you’re finally reunited with your wife and kid up in the big corn field in the sky?
Well, 17 years ago, that’s exactly where one Maximus Decimus Meridius ended up, smoothly running his battle-worn fingertips across a hundred delicate buds like some sort of dextrous sexual warrior. Thing is, he might be about to be dragged, kicking and screaming, back to Earth by Ridley Scott, current king of not-letting-things-go.
Not content with banging out yet another sequel to Alien (which admittedly looks so boss it could run the Weyland-Yutani corporation on its own), he’s now revealing his plans to bring back another of his famous creations in a Gladiator sequel.
However, this isn’t the first time a sequel has been optioned – Crowe himself personally asked his mate Nick Cave (correct, that one) to write a sequel treatment that involved Maximus up in Heaven (yeah) being sent back down to Earth by the Gods (yep) in order to kill Jesus (uh huh) because he was getting too popular (of course) and it was going to be called Christ Killer (WHY NOT).
Weirdly, this didn’t get made, and so the project sort of went to sleep (apart from when they did Gladiator Goes To Notts together in 2010). It’s back though, and Ridley has an idea on how to do it justice. He told Entertainment Weekly:
“I know how to bring him back. I was having this talk with the studio – ‘but he’s dead.’ But there is a way of bringing him back. Whether it will happen I don’t know. Gladiator was 2000, so Russell’s changed a little bit. He’s doing something right now but I’m trying to get him back down here.”
Lord knows how he’s going to do this. A prequel might work, but any sort of continuation of the story that actually stars Russell Crowe as Maximus has the potential to come off laughable – it’s quite annoying when a sequel introduces supernatural elements into a franchise that was grounded in reality (for the most part). Remember how devastated everyone was when they introduced the curse in Halloween 6? No? Fine.
Of course, nothing is set in stone and Scott’s got potentially more Alien sequels to get out the way first, so we’ll see if there’s any actual momentum to the idea in the coming years. Why not just kill two birds and do an Alien Vs. Gladiator movie? I’d watch that, big time.