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Russell Crowe's character looms heavily over the Gladiator II trailer

No, there's no new footage of Maximus Decimus Meridius in the trailer for Ridley Scott's follow-up to Gladiator. But his character is remembered well

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

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Years ago, there were rumors of a Gladiator II script in which Russell Crowe's character, Maximus Decimus Meridius, would return from the dead. Well, the Gladiator II trailer is out now, and though Maximus' ghost is nowhere to be seen, his memory is all over the place. Watch it for yourself here.

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The theme of 'Gladiator taking on tyrants' is already a pretty decent callback to the first Ridley Scott-directed Roman historical drama, but Maximus's legacy is directly referenced throughout the film. Paul Mescal's character Lucius appears to have witnessed Maximus in action, partly inspiring him to be the rage-villed avenger we meet in the trailer. Then there's returning character Lucilla, played by Connie Nielsen, who's acting as torch-passer between Maximus and Lucius, providing the latter with the former's ring, armor, and even some spirit.

All that said, the challenges facing Lucius are not quite the same as the ones Maximus took on. Pedro Pascal's Marcus Acacius is a very different foil, for example, a beloved general with reservations about hoow the Roman Empire is treating its people but with a fierce loyalty to that Empire nonetheless (contrast that with Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus, who's loyalty was to, well, himself). And, even though he acts as Lucius's friend in the trailer, Denzel Washington's Macrinus appears to have his own agenda - one in which a warrior like Lucius is both useful and expendable. All in all, the biggest similarity between Lucius and Maximus, by the end of this film, may be their tragic end.

Then again, who knows? Maybe Maximus's ghost will show up and help after all.

Gladiator II charges into theaters November 22.


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Grant DeArmitt avatar
Grant DeArmitt: Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. As Povperses Staff Writer, he crisscroses the pop culture landscape bringing you the news and opinions about the big things (and the next big things). He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgement. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.
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