Hollywood loves a pile-on. When an actor breaks through, announcing themselves as a force to be reckoned with, the industry comes clamouring. You need only look at Tom Holland, who appeared to be in every movie released last year or Timothée Chalamet, the actor virtually predetermined to be the next Leonardo DiCaprio, for proof. But unlike those two young guns, one actor that has managed to capture the hearts and interest of the globe without overstaying his welcome is Pedro Pascal. It’s a good thing too, because The Mandalorian star has just nabbed a role in Ridley Scott’s much-anticipated Gladiator sequel. Oberyn Martell in Gladiator 2? Looks like we will be entertained, after all.
According to Deadline, Pascal is in final negotiations to join the untitled follow-up to Scott’s 2000 blockbuster, which saw Russell Crowe take home his first Academy Award. The Last of Us star is expected to join the already stacked cast, which includes Paul Mescal, Barry Keoghan, Joseph Quinn, Connie Nielsen and Denzel Washington. Suffice to say, with 12 Oscar nominations and two wins between them, there is a lot of talent to squeeze into the shot, but Ridley Scott could very well be the man to do it.
The revered director was at the helm of the original film, which followed Maximus, a Roman general-turned-gladiator who rose from the ashes of tragedy to become a hero of the people. Earning a whopping USD$460 million at the box office, Gladiator nabbed five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In the years that have passed, rumours have circled about a potential sequel, but it wasn’t until last year that Scott confirmed he was working on a new Gladiator project.
Paul Mescal, fresh off an acclaimed performance in Aftersun, will take on the lead role of Lucius, the son of Lucilla and the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus from the original film. The Hollywood Reporter also suggested that Djimon Hounsou is expected to return as fellow gladiator Juba, however, it’s the blockbuster news of Pedro Pascal’s casting that’s sending the internet into meltdown.
After stealing the show as Oberyn Martell in season four of Game of Thrones, the actor has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity, landing roles in Narcos and the Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian. In 2023, he took things to a whole new level, starring in the HBO hit The Last of Us, which has gone on to be the network’s most popular show ever. Filming for the second season is expected to begin later this year, giving Pascal just enough time to pump out another scene-stealing performance in Gladiator 2.
With an incredible ability to slide between hero and heel, Pascals makes for the perfect addition to the upcoming release. His performance in Game of Thrones was enough to transform him into a bonafide star and we can think of no one better to play brooding foil against Mescal’s supposed hero. Pascal’s character remains a mystery, however, meaning we’ll have to wait and see what becomes of the role.
According to Deadline, the sequel will be produced by Scott, along with Scott Free president Michael Pruss and Red Wagon Entertainment’s Doug Wick & Lucy Fisher. A Universal production, Gladiator 2 is expected to be released on November 22, 2024.