Gladiator 2 release date, cast, trailer, and more

Paul Mescal as Lucius in Gladiator 2 (2024)
(Image credit: Paramount)

Gladiator 2 has debuted its first trailer as we prepare for a epic return to the arena. The first look features everything from gladiators fighting sharks to a general riding a rhino, as it sets up Paul Mescal's Lucius on an epic journey of revenge. You won't be waiting too long to see it either, as we're heading back to ancient Rome later in 2024, 20 years after Ridley Scott’s original Gladiator became one of the best action movies ever made.

Released in 2000, Gladiator follows Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe), who fights his way up the ranks as a gladiator to avenge his family. The flick was a massive success when it first hit cinemas, becoming the second highest-grossing film of 2000. So, unsurprisingly, in 2018, Gladiator 2 was officially announced and has been one of the most anticipated upcoming movies on every film fan’s list ever since. 

But, with news that the sequel will be set years after the first flick and a bunch of fresh faces joining the cast, there are tons of new details to unpack. Luckily, we’ve got all the latest information about the new movie in one place. From its release date to its plot, cast, and trailer, here is everything we know about Gladiator 2.     

Gladiator 2 release date

Paul Mescal as Lucius and Pedro Pascal as Marcus Acaciusin Gladiator 2 (2024)

(Image credit: Paramount)

Grab your wallets because the Gladiator 2 release date is set to hit theaters on November 22, 2024, in the US and Friday, November 15, in the UK. This means that we’ll get to see the Ridley Scott movie go head-to-head with the upcoming musical Wicked – which is also set to release on November 22. 

Who knows, we may get another Barbenheimer situation as the two movies hit the big screen together. Gladiator and witchy cinema outfits, anyone? Whether you choose to dress up for the occasion or not, we are excited to have two big movie release dates for the price of one this November! 

Gladiator 2 trailer

Gladiator II | Official Trailer | Paramount Pictures UK - YouTube Gladiator II | Official Trailer | Paramount Pictures UK - YouTube
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The first Gladiator 2 trailer gives a hint of the epic follow-up that Scott has in store. It begins with Mescal’s Lucius speaking to Washington’s Macrinus. Lucius recalls watching Maximus as a boy, as he shares his hopes to take down Rome. In him, Macrinus sees an "instrument" as they plot together to cause chaos for a crumbling empire. Lucius’ target? Pascal’s Marcus Acacius, who is a high-up General working for emperors Geta and Caracalla. As he plots his way up the ranks of the gladiators, Lucius faces a rhino in a particularly brutal exchange, as we also see the Colosseum filled up with sharks. Watch the dramatic first look above.

Gladiator 2 plot 

Fred Hechinger as Caracalla in Gladiator 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

Considering how the first Gladiator ended, it should shock no one to hear that Gladiator 2 won’t be following Maximus Decimus Meridius. Instead, the new movie will take place 15 years after the first movie and center around Lucius Verus – the former emperor of Rome’s grandson. 

But before all of you, Maximus fans start to worry about the new lead character, you’ll be pleased to hear that Lucius will be facing a very similar predicament to the original leading man. Gladiator 2 will see Lucius thrown into a life of slavery after his home is invaded by General Marcus Acacius. Just like Maximus did before him, Lucius is determined to fight his way as a gladiator in the arena in order to avenge his family and oppose the new young emperors Caracalla and Geta.

Thanks to some first-look images posted by Vanity Fair on July 2, 2024, we got to see actor Paul Mescal as Lucius in the arena for the first time. Given the intense shots, it looks like this story will be just as action-packed as the first Gladiator movie!

In terms of backstory, we also know that Gladiator 2 will touch on Lucius’ childhood. According to Vanity Fair, we will get to hear about how Lucius’ mother, Lucilla, sent him to the northern coast of Africa. Basically, it was for his own good, hiding the rightful heir away from his enemies and forcing him to get stronger. But, we are positive that Lucius holds resentment towards his mother, and we can’t wait for all family drama to hit the big screen.

So yeah, expect the Gladiator 2 plot to be packed. Honestly, we would also recommend giving the first movie a rewatch, just so you are fully caught up on all the backstory and ancient Rome politics. You can also read our Gladiator review if you need a quick refresher!

Gladiator 2 cast 

Denzel Washington as Macrinus in Gladiator 2 (2024)

(Image credit: Paramount)

The Gladiator 2 cast is filled with A-list stars. Leading the sequel is Paul Mescal as Lucius. Denzel Washington is set to appear as Macrinus, a former slave with a hatred for the current emperors of Rome. And, taking a break from preparing for The Last of Us season 2 is Pedro Pascal as the disgraced general Marcus Acacius. 

Connie Nielsen is also returning to play Lucius’ mother, and we will see Joseph Quinn and Fred Hechinger embrace their inner villains as they take on the roles of co-emperors Caracalla and Geta respectively.   

Here's the Gladiator 2 cast list: 

  •  Paul Mescal - Lucius Verus 
  •  Denzel Washington - Macrinus
  •  Pedro Pascal - Marcus Acacius 
  •  Connie Nielsen - Lucilla 
  •  Derek Jacobi - Senator Gracchus 
  •  Joseph Quinn - co-emperor Caracalla 
  •  Fred Hechinger - co-emperor Geta
  •  Tim McInnerny - Thraex 
  •  Lior Raz 
  •  Peter Mensah 
  • Matt Lucas
  •  May Calamawy 
  •  Alexander Karim 

While the list above is packed, you may have noticed that we are missing a few names. Firstly, Djimon Hounsou (who played Juba in the first movie) had to back out of the sequel due to scheduling conflicts. And, of course, Russell Crowe is missing in action for this sequel.

Is Russell Crowe in Gladiator 2?

Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius looking off in the distance with a worried expression in the movie Gladiator.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Sorry to break all your Maximus hearts, but Russell Crowe currently has no involvement with Gladiator 2. So don’t expect any surprising new footage or fresh flashback appearances. 

It's still possible that we will see some archive footage pop up again from the 2000s movie, and we are sure that the Gladiator 2 characters will mention the late Roman general. But, there have been no reports of Crowe filming any new scenes. On one hand, this makes sense, given how Gladiator ended. Seeing a Maximus zombie walking around in Gladiator 2 would turn this into a horror movie, after all. 

We will keep you updated if any last-minute surprise cameos or announcements take place. If you are after more star power in the meantime, you can read our list of the best war movies of all time. 

If you are a fan of Gladiator, why not check out our list of the best 2000s movies ever made? Or, if you prefer streaming instead of a trip to the cinema, here are the best Netflix movies to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. 

Emma-Jane Betts
Managing Editor, Evergreens

After reviewing films throughout University and being a cosy game expert for years, I realised that entertainment journalism was my true calling in 2019. Since then, I've started multiple new farms on Stardew Valley and have written for several publications such as The Upcoming, PCGamesN, and Wargamer. I was the resident Guides Editor and horror lover for The Digital Fix before joining the GamesRadar+ team in 2024. As the Managing Editor for Evergreens, I'll be making sure that all the best lists you read on GamesRadar+ are the most helpful and fun pages on the internet!

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