Film

Who Does Pedro Pascal Play in ‘Gladiator II’?

Lead Photo: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Pedro Pascal attends the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on February 24, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Pedro Pascal attends the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on February 24, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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Ridley Scott’s original Gladiator was a massive blockbuster and genre-defining movie that, for years, seemed never to need a sequel. However, the announcement of Gladiator II proved otherwise, and after some time sitting with anticipation and speculation, the Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal led epic has offered up a first look.

Gladiator II follows the son of Russell Crowe’s Maximus, Lucius Verus (played by Paul Mescal). Sent away from Rome by his mother, Lucilla, to keep him safe from the Roman Empire, Lucius finds himself living a life with a wife and child. However, this doesn’t last, as he’s taken by the country that raised him and forced to fight for freedom. This leads him to cross paths with MCU-starrer Pedro Pascal’s Marcus Acacius, a Roman General who trained under Maximus’ leadership.

At a glance, this may seem like low-hanging fruit to connect both movies, but The Mandalorian star explained, “This is a movie shaped by legacy. It wouldn’t make sense for it not to,” when speaking on why Acacius was tied to Crowe. That doesn’t mean Pascal’s character is a carbon copy of Maximus.

Part of the appeal of a character tied to an icon like Maximus means there’s room to subvert expectations, precisely what Pascal’s Acacius looks to be doing. According to Pascal, “I think that a lot happens before you can stop and question what you’ve done. And then, of course, there’s no changing it,” he says. “He’s a very, very good general, which can mean a very good killer.”

Gladiator II features an epic battle between Lucius and Acacius that shows both characters’ tactical and physical strength, but Pascal’s Acacius’ experience and brutality are the things that Pascal has on his side. While there’s still much that isn’t known about the character, he’s clearly one who will stop at nothing to achieve a goal, and it will be exciting to see him in action.