Russell Crowe is returning? Huh? How’s this work? didn’t he die in the original? While talking to the Chicago Sun-Times Producer Walter Parkes said regardless of the Aussie brawlers demise in the first film – he could be back. ""Maximus did die in the first ‘Gladiator,’ but the Romans had a great belief in the afterlife. Russell is exploring some ideas on how to come back." And this isn’t as strange as it sounds because "Gladiator 2" isn’t exactly a sequel or a prequel, according to the filmmaker. "We can go backwards in time and forward," says Parkes. As for plot secrets, he divulges, "The piece revolves around Connie Nielsen’s son, who is the last heir of Marcus Aurelius. Rome has become a fascist state and we have a prince who needs to find out who was his father."