The Real Villain of Gladiator According to Ridley Scott is Not Commodus, but Someone Else!

MOVIE NEWS – A stunning revelation from Gladiator! Ridley Scott, the esteemed director, has made a startling statement: the real antagonist of the film is not Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus, but an unexpected character. This discovery casts the film’s events and characters in an entirely new light.


The Oscar-winning Gladiator, now considered a classic, showcases exceptional performances, not only by Russell Crowe. Many believe that Joaquin Phoenix should have won the Oscar for his role as the evil Commodus, who kills his father, Marcus Aurelius, and orders the slaughter of Maximus’s family, plunging the hero from the top of the social ladder to the bottom. However, according to Ridley Scott, the film’s director, Commodus is not the real villain of the story; it’s Marcus Aurelius.

In an interview with Deadline, regarding the upcoming premiere of Napoleon, Scott responded to a question about Phoenix’s character development from Gladiator to Napoleon. Scott said, “Let me correct you. I always saw Commodus as the most sympathetic character in Gladiator. He was a product of neglect, completely sidelined by his father. Then the father makes a fatal mistake: he tries to reconcile with his son, but the son does not accept it. Consequently, Commodus strangles him, and from that moment, I saw him as the most sympathetic figure in the film. The father is responsible for the events that follow.”

Scott added, “Marcus Aurelius faced his own challenges. He couldn’t conquer Europe with good intentions alone. The conquest involved death and destruction. Marcus Aurelius felt his own limitations and ultimately doomed Commodus, whom he neglected, by deciding he wouldn’t follow in his footsteps, which was a catastrophic mistake.”

According to Scott, Marcus Aurelius treated both Commodus and Maximus as victims, since Maximus didn’t want the power offered to him. When Commodus learned that his father preferred Maximus over him, both of their lives were endangered. Scott confirmed that neither character would return in Gladiator 2, which is scheduled to premiere on November 22, 2024. The release of Napoleon is set for November 23, 2023.

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