The 2000 Academy Award Best Picture winner Gladiator would have probably been ripe for a sequel, had director Ridley Scott and Co. been able to get past the teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy plot snag that the lead character, Maximus, died in the end. But according to rock musician and screenwriter Nick Cave, the film’s star, Russell Crowe, wasn’t hung up on that little detail at all, and he told Cave to go ahead and start working on the sequel years ago.
On Marc Maron’s WTF podcast back on July 4, Cave opened up and revealed all of the details about the Gladiator sequel that never happened, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that we were robbed of what would have truly been a special film.
Cave had written only one other script at the time, Ghosts… Of the Civil Dead; he’s since written The Proposition and Lawless, among other unproduced scripts. ”Hey Russell, didn’t you die in Gladiator?” asked Cave. Crowe’s response: “Yeah, you sort that out.”
Says Cave, “[he] goes to purgatory and is sent down by the gods, who are dying in heaven because there’s this one god, there’s this Christ character, down on Earth who is gaining popularity. And so the many gods are dying, and they send Gladiator back to kill Christ and all his followers.”
“the main guy was [Maximus’] son, so he has to kill his son and he was tricked by the gods. He becomes this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20 minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff. And… it was wild.” The last scene of the script, after Maximus was reincarnated over and over again as a force of war, is set in the present day, meeting with suits at the Pentagon. “Stone cold masterpiece” deadpans Cave, describing it all. (Via slashfilm)
If this has left you wondering, “What if…” and intrigued to know what Cave’s sequel would have looked like, you can actually read the script now.