Pedro Pascal, Paul Mescal Enter the Colosseum

Denzel Washington also stars in the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s 2000 historical epic

Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal grab their swords and prepare for battle in the new trailer for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator II.

The three-minute (!) clip offers a comprehensive and intriguing look at the long-awaited sequel to Scott’s 2000 historical epic. It’s stuffed with grudges and revenge fantasies, political intrigue and revolutionary fervor, decadence, depravity, and some of the most bonkers-looking action sequences you can imagine. Just within the bloody confines of the Coliseum, there’s a makeshift naval battle, a charging rhinoceros, and some wildly intense hand-to-hand combat. 

Gladiator II picks up with — and centers around — Lucius, played by Mescal. In the original movie, Lucius appeared briefly as the son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla, daughter of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, former lover of Russell Crowe’s Maximus, and sister to Joaquin Phoenix’s dastardly Commodus (Nielsen will reprise her role in Gladiator II). After the events of the first movie, Lucilla sends her son away to live in Northern Africa without explanation, leaving him alone and resentful, but also with an indelible memory of Maximus’ last stand.

“I remember that day,” he says in the opening moments of the clip. “I never forgot it. That a slave could take revenge against an emperor.” 

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After the new Roman emperors — brothers played by Fred Hechinger and Joseph Quinn — invade Lucius’ home, he’s forced into slavery and then becomes a gladiator. Along the way, he meets a Macrinus, a power broker and arms dealer played by Denzel Washington, and is ultimately put on a collision course with Pascal’s Marcus Acacius, a Roman general who trained under Maximus and leads the invasion of Lucius’ home.

Gladiator II is set to hit theaters on Nov. 22 (the same day as Wicked, but you still can’t convince us that “Wickiator” is gonna be the next “Barbenheimer”).

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