Epic first Gladiator 2 trailer sees Paul Mescal fight Pedro Pascal, a rhino, and a Colosseum full of sharks

Gladiator II | Official Trailer | Paramount Pictures UK - YouTube Gladiator II | Official Trailer | Paramount Pictures UK - YouTube
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The Gladiator 2 trailer is here, and it sets up a truly epic sequel. Ridley Scott’s long-awaited follow-up to 2000’s Gladiator stars Paul Mescal as Lucius, the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus.

We get our first proper glimpse of the Aftersun star in action in the new trailer, released today, which gives an idea of the plot of Scott’s latest epic. Soundtracked to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s ‘No Church In The Wild’, it features ambitious sequences, brutal new villains, and fights with rhinos and sharks. Yes, really.

Alongside Mescal, the movie brings back Connie Nielsen as Lucilla and Derek Jacobi as Senator Gracchus. Pedro Pascal joins the cast as Marcus Acacius and Denzel Washington as Macrinus, alongside Joseph Quinn, Fred Hechinger, and May Calamawy. Check out our full trailer breakdown below.

Familiar faces

Paul Mescal in Gladiator 2 (2024)

(Image credit: Paramount)

The trailer begins with Mescal’s Lucius speaking to Washington’s Macrinus as clips from the first Gladiator play on the screen. "I remember that day," Lucius says, "I never forgot it. When a slave could take revenge against an emperor." We see Russell Crowe’s Maximus in the Colosseum, as a young Lucius looks on. The sequel picks up decades after the original film, and Lucius has no memory of his family or who raised him, aside from that memory. Macrinus sees something in him, and vows to make him his "instrument". 


Sharks in the Gladiator 2 trailer

(Image credit: Paramount)

There are some seriously epic fight scenes in the first Gladiator 2 trailer as Lucius is plucked by Macrinus to enter the arena. Hands down the most wild is the shark sequence. The Colosseum is filled up with water as the gladiators enter on a boat with sharks swimming underneath them. At one point, a fighter falls in the water to bloody consequences. It’s a moment that needs to move past logistics (just, how did they get the sharks in there?) to just appreciate its sheer drama. That’s not all either, there’s also a rhino fight tucked into the first look, which given there are also reports that baboons will make an appearance, means there’s a zoo load of action to come. 

Epic rivalry

Denzel Washington in Gladiator 2 (2024)

(Image credit: Paramount)

While not all of the plot has been revealed yet for Gladiator 2, the trailer gives us our best idea yet. After Lucius’ home is invaded by the Roman Empire, and its military general, Marcus Acacius, he finds himself taken as a prisoner. It’s here that Macrinus finds him and takes him under his wing. "You have something in you. Rage. Rage is your gift," Macrinus says to him as Lucius vows to take down all of Rome, but admits he will settle for a General. 

The last of us

Joseph Quinn in Gladiator 2 (2024)

(Image credit: Paramount)

The General in question is Pascal’s Marcus Acacius, who we first meet as the new emperors Geta and Caracalla, are enamored with him. From the early details released from Vanity Fair, we know there’s history there between Lucius and Marcus Acacius, and it seems they’re setting them up for a brutal fight. We see the brute rage at the end of the trailer as the pair face off. "This is how Rome treats its heroes," screams Lucius, echoing the vehemence of Maximus’ ‘are you not entertained’ speech. 

Gladiator 2 releases in UK cinemas on November 15, before heading to US theaters on November 22. For more upcoming movies, check out our breakdown of all the 2024 movie release dates to add to your calendar. 

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.