1. Cave In
“At first I was very cynical about the notion of a Gladiator sequel, but I’ve come around on it,” said Russell Crowe, some years after Ridley Scott’s epic had mopped up at the Oscars.
“We’ve had other ideas too, where we step off into the metaphysical and you actually acknowledge the fact that Maximus is dead! But that’s a hard script to write.
Nick Cave actually wrote a draft for me and Ridley at one point. He’s an excellent writer, man. Nick did this draft and Ridley and I considered it for a while.”
2. Back From The Dead
“Russell didn’t want to let it go, obviously, because it worked very well,” says Ridley Scott. “I mean, when I say ‘worked very well’, I don’t refer to success. I mean, as a piece it works very well.
Storytelling, [it] works brilliantly. I think Cave enjoyed doing it and I think it was one of those things that he thought, ‘Well, maybe there’s a sequel where we can adjust the fantasy and bring him back from the dead...’”
3. Dead Man Walking
Opening scene: resurrected violently out of the mud, the slain Maximus awakes to murder two thieves looting his body. From there, Cave’s script sends him to a vast netherworld – infinite numbers of the damned stretching endlessly to eternity on a pitch-black sea – where he searches for his dead wife.
Next: Mocked By The Gods, Reunited With Son[page-break]
4. Raw Deal
In a ruined temple, Maximus is mocked by the gods, who offer him a deal: hunt and kill rogue deity Hephaestus (right) and they will reunite him with family.
5. My Son, What Have You Done?
Maximus tracks down Hephaestus but refuses to kill him. Furious, the gods banish the Gladiator back to Rome as an eternal damned warrior. Transported into the midst of a massacre, Maximus walks into Lucius (right, back in the day), the now 25-year old tyrant son of Connie Nielson. Who tries to kill him.
6. Son Of Mine
Hooking up with Juba (Djimon Hounsou) and the Christian rebels, Maximus finally comes face-to-face with his fully grown son Marius. Slowly evolving throughout the story, their delicate relationship forms some of the script’s most affecting scenes.
Next: Colosseum is flooded, Religious Battles and Modern Warfare[page-break]
7. Unleash Hell
Did Cave forget the blood and thunder? No chance. Dozens of Christians being hacked to death by the Emperor’s forces... The Colosseum completely flooded with ships battling hundreds of alligators with fireballs and arrows. A gigantic final battle between Lucius’ army and Maximus’ Christian rebels...
8. Long Goodbye
Maximus is finally doomed to fight for eternity: the sole survivor of the countless skirmishes between Christians and Muslims in Crusades, battling tanks in World War Two, attacking Vietcong with a flamethrower in ’Nam... In the present day, Cave’s script leaves him working in the Pentagon.
9. The End
Despite praise from Crowe and Scott, Cave’s script was deemed too over the top and stayed on the shelf. In fact, his sequel repeats many of the same beats as the original. But it’s brilliantly written, full of rich characters, action and heartbreaking emotion. One day, maybe...
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