Gladiator II introduced a new North African character, Macrinus, portrayed by Denzel Washington!

Macrinus reigned as Roman Emperor from April 217 to June 218 AD.


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Denzel Washington’s character Macrinus in Gladiator II appears to be based on a historical figure, Marcus Opellius Macrinus, the first Roman emperor from North Africa.

He was born around 165 AD in Caesarea, a city in the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis, which is modern-day Cherchell, Algeria. He was also of Berber origin.

The Berbers are an ethnic group that has lived in North Africa since the Stone Age, long before the arrival of Arabs.

Although Berbers have diverse appearances, they do not consider themselves ‘black.’ Instead, they usually categorize themselves as part of the broader Afro-Asiatic ethnic group.

In modern terminology, it would be more accurate to describe Macrinus as North African or Berber rather than black.

However, given Macrinus’s darker complexion than that of other Romans of purely European origin, some interpretations may consider Macrinus black.

Gladiator II

IMDb DramaActionAdventure

After his home is conquered by the tyrannical Emperors who now lead Rome, Lucius is forced to enter the Colosseum and must look to his past to find strength to return Rome’s glory to its people.

DirectorRidley Scott
Release DateNovember 15, 2024
StudioScott Free Productions, Red Wagon Entertainment
CastJoseph Quinn, Connie Nielsen, Paul Mescal
WritersPeter Craig, David Scarpa

The real-life Macrinus was a praetorian prefect before becoming the emperor of Rome!

The original Gladiator takes place from 180 to 192 AD, and Gladiator II picks up several years after the first movie ends. At the start of Gladiator II, Macrinus is not the emperor of Rome but is already a powerful presence.

Ridley Scott told Vanity Fair that Macrinus would start as a wealthy arms dealer who supplies military goods like food and weapons to armies across Europe.

In real life, by 212 AD, Macrinus became a praetorian prefect, a high-ranking position responsible for commanding the Praetorian Guard under Emperor Caracalla, a twin brother of Emperor Geta.

Over time, the relationship between Macrinus and Caracalla deteriorated. In 217 AD, a soldier took Caracalla’s life, a plot Macrinus was part of. After Caracalla’s death, Macrinus quickly seized his power.

Finally, on April 11, 217 AD, Macrinus declared himself emperor, and the Roman Senate accepted him. However, his reign lasted just over a year, from April 217 to June 218 AD.

Moreover, the real-life Macrinus was the first Roman emperor who wasn’t from the senatorial class. He was also the first one to visit Rome during his reign.

He rose to power only to be overthrown and executed shortly after. This chaotic period in Roman history, full of political scheming and power struggles, sets the stage for the character’s role in Gladiator 2.

Furthermore, Denzel Washington’s character is expected to show ambition, intelligence, and a bit of moral uncertainty, reflecting the complex world of Rome’s powerful leaders and their tricky games.

Additional Information

  • The upcoming historical drama Gladiator II takes place over two decades after the original film and acts as a sequel to the epic 2000 movie Gladiator.
  • Development for Gladiator II started in the early 2000s, and Paramount Pictures plans to release it internationally on November 21, 2024.
  • The sequel introduces several prominent new characters, each playing significant roles in the storyline alongside returning characters.
Janavi Rajbhandari
Janavi Rajbhandari
Currently studying computer science, I am diving into the complex world of technology. I also have a deep passion for writing and storytelling which is how I found my true calling as a content writer. I have combined the logical thinking that I learned from computer science with my creative side to offer a unique perspective.


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