First look at Gladiator II previews battle between Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal

Paul Mescal stares with a confused look on face.
Amazon MGM Studios

Paul Mescal heads to the arena to battle Pedro Pascal in the first look at Gladiator II, Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated sequel to the Oscar-winning Gladiator.

In the images shared by Vanity Fair, Mescal plays Lucius, the former heir to the Empire and son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), who returns for the sequel. Lucilla sent Lucius to live in Numidia as a young boy. When the film opens, Lucius is peacefully in Numidia with his wife and child when Roman armies infiltrate his home.

One of the Roman soldiers is Marcus Acacius (Pedro Pascal), a general who learned as a junior officer under Russell Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius. Crowe is not reprising his role as Maximus in the sequel.

Lucius becomes a prisoner of war, thrust into the Roman gladiatorial life. When Lucius enters the arena for the first time, he recognizes a familiar face in the crowd.

“When he [Lucius] gets to Rome as a prisoner and has a first round in the arena, he sees his mother [Lucilla]—to his shock,” Scott told Vanity Fair. “He doesn’t know whether she’s alive or not. How would he know? You don’t have telephones. There’s no press. And there’s his mother in the royal box looking pretty good after 20 years. And she’s with the general who he came face-to-face with on the wall in Numidia.”

Other actors featured in the photos include Fred Hecinger as Emperor Caracalla, Joseph Quinn as Emperor Geta, and Denzel Washington as Macrinusm, a powerbroker with a “stable of gladiators.”

Scott directs Gladiator II from a screenplay by David Scarpa, who wrote Napoleon and All the Money in the World. The first trailer will arrive on July 9. Per Collider, the trailer will be attached to Deadpool & Wolverine at the end of the month.

Gladiator II hits theaters in the U.S. and Canada on November 22, 2024, with an international release on November 15.