Sorry, Gladiator 2 isn’t bringing back this original actor after all

Gladiator 2 brings Paul Mescal to the party, but Russell Crowe is nowhere to be seen. Now another original star has revealed their absence.

Gladiator 2 is no longer bringing back one original Gladiator cast member

With 2023 now mostly in our rearview mirror, we can start looking ahead to the most exciting movies of 2024. One of those films is Gladiator 2, in which Ridley Scott has returned to make a sequel to a truly classic historical epic. Russell Crowe won’t be there this time, and it turns out another original cast member has had to bow out too.

Djimon Hounsou had been announced to return for the Gladiator sequel as Juba, who fought alongside Maximus in the arena as one of Proximo’s other gladiators. But when the Gladiator 2 release date comes around and gives us one of the most anticipated new movies of 2024, it will be without Juba after all.

While promoting the Rebel Moon release date, in which he plays General Titus and is introduced outside a gladiatorial arena amusingly, Hounsou told The Digital Fix: “Interestingly, I’m not in [Gladiator 2], just so you know. Not due to much, but other than the fact that we weren’t necessarily available at the time.”

Juba was initially announced as a returning character, along with Connie Nielsen as Commodus’ sister Lucilla. But it turns out that pesky scheduling issues have got in the way of Hounsou returning to one of his best movies, which is probably a side effect of productions shuffling around the 2023 Actors Strike.

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However, Hounsou made it clear that we should all be keen to return to one of the best 2000s movies, with Ridley Scott as our returning guide of course. He said: “I would say you should be very excited. I’m also really eager to see what they made of it. [Ridley] never stops.”

We certainly can’t wait to see what Gladiator 2 brings us, with Denzel Washington in the cast alongside leading man Paul Mescal. That’s some serious pedigree right there, even without Russell Crowe returning as Maximus.

And we definitely get our fill of Hounsou in Rebel Moon, ahead of his return in the second part of that story next year. Hounsou called Zack Snyder’s new sci-fi adventure an “epic story” and spoke of the real world subtext that really drew him to the movie.

Hounsou said: “The resonance of this story to me has so much to do with the way the geopolitical tentacles have been holding the continent of Africa back for so long, for centuries. You can feel the resonance of those elements in this story.”

Djimon Hounsou as General Titus in Rebel Moon

If you can’t wait to see what Hounsou has in store with Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire when it arrives on Netflix from December 22, find out more about the best Netflix movies and look at our guide to everything else that’s new on Netflix this month. There’s plenty there to catch your eye!

As for the bloodshed of the arena, find out why Gladiator’s best scene is totally inaccurate and learn why Paul Mescal won’t talk to Russell Crowe about being in Gladiator 2.