‘Gladiator II’ Cast and Character Guide: Who’s Who in the Epic Action Sequel?

Paul Mescal stars as the nephew of Commodus, Joaquin Phoenix’s character from the first movie

Paul Mescal as Lucius in Gladiator II (CREDIT: Paramount Pictures)
Paul Mescal as Lucius in "Gladiator II" (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

The first trailer for “Gladiator 2” dropped Tuesday, and audiences are already clamoring for Nov. 22, when the Ridley Scott sequel for Paramount Pictures hits theaters.

The anticipated feature stars Paul Mescal as Lucius, the nephew of the original film’s Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) and son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), who, like that project’s hero Maximus (Russell Crowe), must fight for his life in the Colosseum.

Here’s more about his character and the rest of the cast, which includes returning characters and new faces alike, in our full “Gladiator II” cast and character guide.

Paul Mescal as Lucius

Paul Mescal as Lucius in Gladiator II
Paul Mescal as Lucius in “Gladiator II” (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

“Aftersun” Oscar nominee Paul Mescal plays Lucius, the nephew of former Emperor Commodus and son of Lucilla, although he is unaware of his royal lineage. In the 2000 film, Lucius was played by Spencer Treat Clark and here, a fateful turn of events finds him becoming a gladiator like his childhood hero, Maximus. As he says in the trailer, “I never forgot it — that a slave could take revenge against an emperor.”

Mescal’s other projects include the moving 2023 drama “All of Us Strangers” with Andrew Scott and the Hulu series “Normal People.”

Denzel Washington as Macrinus

Denzel Washington as Macrinus in "Gladiator II"
Denzel Washington as Macrinus in “Gladiator II” (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington stars as Macrinus, a power player in Rome who wants to overthrow the current rulers. As we learned in the trailer, he sees Lucius as his “instrument” to take down Marcus Acacius (Pedro Pascal), the Roman general who trained under Maximus.

In 2022, Washington became the most-nominated Black actor in history after scoring his 10th Oscar nomination. Besides his winning performances in “Training Day” and “Glory,” he has elsewhere been nominated for “Malcolm X,” “Cry Freedom,” “The Hurricane,” “Flight,” “Fences,” “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” and “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

Pedro Pascal as Marcus Acacius

Pedro Pascal as Marcus Acacius in "Gladiator II"
Pedro Pascal as Marcus Acacius in “Gladiator II” (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Pedro Pascal, star of “The Last of Us” and “The Mandalorian,” plays one of the film’s key villains, Gen. Marcus Acacius. He ends up facing off with Lucius in the arena, as apparently according to Macrinus’ plan.

Pascal previously played Oberyn Martell in “Game of Thrones” and  Javier Peña in “Narcos.” His films include “Wonder Woman 1984,” “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” and Pedro Almodóvar’s “Strange Way of Life” with Ethan Hawke.

Joseph Quinn as Emperor Geta

Joseph Quinn as Emperor Geta in "Gladiator II"
Joseph Quinn as Emperor Geta in “Gladiator II” (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Joseph Quinn plays the ruthless Emperor Geta, who rules Rome alongside Emperor Caracalla (Fred Hechinger). He is previously best known for starring roles in “Stranger Things” and “A Quiet Place: Day One,” and looking ahead has been cast as Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, in the upcoming “Fantastic Four” film.

Fred Hechinger as Emperor Caracalla

Fred Hechinger as Emperor Caracalla in Gladiator II
Fred Hechinger as Emperor Caracalla in “Gladiator II” (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Fred Hechinger’s previous credits include “Thelma,” “Fear Street: Part One,” “The Woman in the Window” and Season 1 of HBO’s “The White Lotus.” He’s also in the upcoming “Kraven the Hunter.” He plays Emperor Caracalla, who shares power with Quinn’s Emperor Geta.

Connie Nielsen as Lucilla

Connie Nielsen as Lucilla in Gladiator II
Connie Nielsen as Lucilla in “Gladiator II” (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Conne Nielsen returns to “Gladiator” to reprise her role as Lucilla, who in the first film tried to help former lover Maximus overthrow her brother Commodus. In a key scene from the trailer, she gives her son Lucius (Mescal) a ring that once belonged to Maximus. The actress’ other films include “Wonder Woman,” “Nobody” and “Origin.”

Derek Jacobi as Sen. Gracchus

Derek Jacobi as Senator Gracchus in "Gladiator"
Derek Jacobi as Sen. Gracchus in “Gladiator” (Credit: Universal/DreamWorks)

British actor Derek Jacobi returns to play Sen. Gracchus in “Gladiator II.” In the first film, he plotted with Maximus and Lucilla to overthrow Commodus. The actor’s many other films include Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet,” “Henry V” and “Dead Again,” as well as “Gosford Park” and the TV Series “Good Omens” and “The Sandman.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story stated incorrectly that Djimon Hounsou is in the sequel.


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