Barry Keoghan drops out of Gladiator sequel due to scheduling conflicts

Barry Keoghan as Druig in Marvel's Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Barry Keoghan has dropped out of Ridley Scott's upcoming Gladiator sequel. According to Deadline, the Banshees of Inisherin actor, who was in talks to play antagonist Emperor Geta in the long-awaited follow-up, has had to step away from the project due to scheduling conflicts.

The White Lotus actor Fred Hechinger is said to now be the frontrunner for the role. If he winds up landing the part, he'll go toe to toe with Aftersun's Paul Mescal, who was cast as the project's lead back in January. 

Denzel Washington, who previously worked with Scott on American Gangster, and Pedro Pascal were linked to the film earlier this year. More recently, Lior Raz, Peter Mensah, Matt Lucas, Derek Jacobi, and Moon Knight's May Calamawy have been cast.

Michael Pruss, Doug Wick, and Lucy Fisher are on board to produce alongside Scott. Executive producers include Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. Also returning from the original film are cinematographer John Mathieson, production designer Arthur Max and costume designer Janty Yates.

Written by All the Money in the World scribe David Scarpa, Gladiator 2 will reportedly center on Lucius, the son of Russell Crowe's ill-fated Maximus Decimus Meridius, and his lover Lucilla (Connie Nielsen, who will be returning in the new outing) from the original. Released in 2000, Gladiator charts Roman soldier Maximus's descent into slavery at the hands of Joaquin Phoenix's traitorous Commodus. It was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, winning five including Best Picture, and earned $460 million at the box office.

The currently untitled Gladiator sequel is set to release on November 22, 2024. While we wait, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies coming our way throughout 2023 and beyond.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.