Fans are wondering why Paul Mescal is playing Lucius in ‘Gladiator 2’ instead of Spencer Treat Clark. Ridley Scott explained his reasoning.

Paul Mescal as Lucius in “Gladiator 2” and Spencer Treat Clark as Lucius in “Gladiator.”

The first “Gladiator 2” trailer showed Paul Mescal as Lucius fighting Pedro Pascal’s Marcus Acacius.The younger version of Lucius was played by Spencer Treat Clark in the original “Gladiator” movie.Here’s why Clark doesn’t reprise the role in “Gladiator 2.”

The trailer for the “Gladiator” sequel dropped on Tuesday, leaving fans wondering why Paul Mescal plays slave fighter Lucius instead of Spencer Treat Clark, who played him in the original.

Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” starred Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a former Roman general who is betrayed and sold into slavery. The film sees Lucius, the heir to the Roman Empire, watch Maximus fight in the Colosseum.

The 2000 movie is one of the most beloved historical epics of all time and won five Oscars, including best film, best actor, and best director. Because of this, there’s plenty of pressure on “Gladiator 2” to live up to the high expectations set by the original.

The first trailer for “Gladiator 2,” which is out on November 15, suggests that Lucius disappeared after the events of the original movie and forged a life for himself. But like Maximus, he’s forced into becoming a fighter when he’s captured by General Marcus Acacius (Pedro Pascal) and his soldiers.

It’s not surprising that Scott cast Mescal as Lucius for the sequel considering the Irish actor has become a rising star after his critically acclaimed performances in”Normal People,” “Aftersun,” and “All of Us Strangers.”

But “Gladiator” fans on social media have said it’s odd that Scott didn’t ask Clark to reprise the role since he’s still working as an actor.

Scott said he needed someone younger to play Lucius in “Gladiator 2”

Clark, who is now 36 years old, also played Joseph Dunn in “Unbreakable” opposite Bruce Willis — a role he later reprised in 2019’s “Glass.” And he’s appeared in several TV shows, including “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” “Animal Kingdom,” and “Manhunt.

In November 2023, Scott told Deadline that he wanted to cast a younger actor to play Lucius in “Gladiator 2,” and said he was impressed by Mescal, who is 28, in “Normal People.”

Scott said: “I’m always looking for someone, something new and fresh. I mean, fresh is terribly important. So they’re not carrying … baggage is a terrible word for what they’ve done before, because it’s great stuff, but you will remember he just did this character already.

“I watched this show called ‘Normal People.’ It’s unusual for me, but I saw one and thought, that’s interesting. These actors are really good I watched the whole goddamn show and thought, damn.”

He added: “So this came up at a time when I need a 23 year old, 24 year old to take up the mantle of Lucius. And I just said, ‘You want to do it?’ He said, ‘Yeah.'”

Representatives for Spencer Treat Clark did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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