When is Gladiator 2 being released?

It’s been almost a quarter-century since Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe kept us entertained with the Oscar-winning Gladiator, and a sequel has been in development for almost as long. Now, finally, we’re getting to return to Rome and the spectacle of the Circus as Gladiator 2 hits cinemas on November 22.

Now, the obvious hurdle that needed to be overcome is the fact that Crowe’s vengeful Maximus died in the first film’s climax, which led to some wild takes on how to continue the story. We’re particularly fond of gothic grasshopper Nick Cave’s script, which saw our man Maximus fight his way through the afterlife, save Christianity, and become a kind of immortal avatar of war. It’s a wild ride, mainly because Cave knew the thing had almost no chance of getting made and let his freak flag fly.

But what we’re getting instead is Paul Mescal as Lucius Verus, Maximus’ illegitimate son by noblewoman Lucilla (Connie Nielsen, also returning) fighting his own yet-to-be-revealed battles. Footage that debuted at CinemaCon this week includes such wonders as a fight against a rhino (which was mooted for the first film but dropped due to technical limitations) and a naval battle in flooded arena.

The script comes to us courtesy of David Scarpa, who also penned Sir Ridley’s All the Money in the World and Napoleon, and the cast includes Denzel Washington as a former slave turned arms merchant, Pedro Pascal as a disillusioned Roman general, plus Joseph Quinn and Fred Hechinger as co-emperors Caracella and Gaeta, respectively. And Derek Jacobi is back as idealistic senator Gracchus.

Now, to be fair, we were a little cool on Napoleon, Scott’s most recent historical epic, so perhaps we should temper our expectations a little bit. But, counterpoint: the little Corsican artillerist never went toe to toe with a rhinoceros, which would doubtless have bumped up the film’s Rotten Tomatoes rating a few notches.

The last time Sir Ridley took a trip to Imperial Rome it inaugurated a whole new age of sweeping historical epics. Can he pull off the same trick twice? We’ll find out in November.