Paul Mescal Battles Pedro Pascal in the First Trailer for 'Gladiator II' — and Are You Not Entertained?

Ridley Scott's sequel to his 2000 Oscar-winner also stars Denzel Washington and Joseph Quinn — with Connie Nielsen returning from the first film.
Sarah Ward
Published on July 10, 2024

Sandals, swords, a shirtless Paul Mescal, fighting a rhinoceros, Ridley Scott behind the lens: welcome to the Gladiator II arena. The first trailer for the filmmaker's 24-years-later sequel to his 2000 Oscar-winner also includes odious Emperors — yes, multiple — plus seafaring clashes in the Colosseum. And, alongside Mescal, Pedro Pascal and Denzel Washington can't stop thinking about the Roman Empire

Mescal's (All of Us Strangers) Lucius watched the climactic events of 2000's Russell Crowe (The Exorcism) and Joaquin Phoenix (Napoleon)-starring film, as the sneak peek explains, which is just one of the ties that Gladiator II boasts with its predecessor. Another: Connie Nielsen (Origin) returning from Gladiator as Lucilla, Lucius' mother.

If the sequel's protagonist didn't have his own date with Rome's iconic amphitheatre, there wouldn't be much of a film. His stint comes after Emperors Caracalla (Joseph Quinn, A Quiet Place: Day One) and Geta (Fred Hechinger, The White Lotus) take over his home. Queue a quest for revenge, plus glory for Rome, with Pascal's (Drive-Away Dolls) general Marcus Acacius becoming Lucius' target. As for Washington (The Equalizer 3), he plays power broker Macrinus.

Alien, Blade Runner and Thelma & Louise director Scott has been in blast-from-the-past mode for over a decade now, first revisiting the Alien realm with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, then reteaming with Phoenix on Napoleon, and now helming his second Gladiator flick. Of late, he's also been fond of making movies set in the past — long ago and more recent — as not only seen with Napoleon, but also with House of Gucci, The Last Duel and All the Money in the World.

With Gladiator II, the British filmmaker teams up two of the internet's boyfriends in Mescal and Pascal, and promises a battle-filled time following up the feature that picked up Best Picture, Best Actor (for Crowe), Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards. Scott also earned his second Best Director nomination, after Thelma & Louise — and before Black Hawk Down gave him a third.

Gladiator II hits cinemas Down Under on Thursday, November 14, 2024, which means that local audiences will see it a week before American audiences. In the US, viewers are in for a Barbenheimer-style release day with the film and Wicked Part One arriving on the same date, Friday, November 22. Repeating that possible new moviegoing phenomenon in Australia and New Zealand had already been nixed, however, given that the first Wicked flick won't reach picture palaces here until Thursday, November 28.

Check out the trailer for Gladiator II below:

Gladiator II opens in cinemas Down Under on Thursday, November 14, 2024.

Published on July 10, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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