'Gladiator 2' Trailer Released, Movie Stars Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal and Paul Mescal

The long-awaited sequel hits theaters on Nov. 15, 2024.

The trailer for Gladiator II took fans by surprise on Tuesday, whether they've been following the trades or are hearing about it for the first time. The belated sequel did not do much marketing until this week, when a poster dropped on Monday and a 3-minute trailer followed on Tuesday. It catches fans up to speed about what the story will be.

Gladiator II is written by David Scarpa and Peter Craig, with director Ridley Scott returning. The main cast is much different, however – it stars Paul Mescal as Lucius, Pedro Pascal as Marcus Acacius, Connie Nielsen as Lucilla, Denzel Washington as Macrinus, Joseph Quinn as Emperor Geta, Fred Hechinger as Emperor Caracalla, Derek Jacobi as Senator Grachchus and May Calamawy as Lucius' wife. Lucius and Gracchus are both returning characters but only Jacobi is returning to the same role. Of course, the stars of the first movie, Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, are not returning.

This movie picks up over 20 years after the events of Gladiator, and finds Lucius living with his wife and child in a Roman settlement on the northern coast of Africa. Lucius was a child in the last film, but he was the grandson of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, while his mother had once been Maximus' (Crowe) lover. All these years later, an invading force of Roman soldiers force Lucius into slavery, reminding him of his experience as a child. He decides to follow in the footsteps of Maximus to try and take down the new emperors.

Released in 2000, Gladiator is a historical fiction story about a Roman general chosen by Marcus Aurelius to lead Rome as it transitions back to being a republic, but he is betrayed by Marcus' son, Commodus (Phoenix). He then claws his way up from slavery to become a gladiator, with the platform to fight back. The movie is based on an ancient Roman text called Historia Augusta, in which Commodus was killed by a wrestler named Narcissus.

There were talks of making a sequel or prequel to Gladiator as soon as it came out, but they have stalled many times over the years. This iteration is relatively new, however, with its origins going back to April of 2021 according to a report by New Idea. The movie filmed from May 2023 to January of 2024, with some re-shoots taking place just last month.

Gladiator II hits theaters on Nov. 15, 2024.