Paul Mescal's body transformation in Gladiator II trailer sends fans wild: 'He has no right'

THIS is our Roman Empire.

Paul Mescal in Gladiator II
Fans have gone wild over Paul Mescal's body transformation in Gladiator II after the film's trailer was released. Photo: Paramount Pictures

The trailer for Gladiator II has finally been released, with fans going crazy over Paul Mescal. The Normal People actor stars in the highly-anticipated sequel to the Ridley Scott 2000 classic that famously starred Russel Crowe, and, all of a sudden, women everywhere can't stop thinking about the Roman Empire.

Paul stars as a grown-up Lucius, who fans will remember from the first film. He's joined by Pedro Pascal as General Marcus Acacius, Denzel Washington as Macrinus, Joseph Quinn as Emperor Geta, and Connie Nelson, who returns as Lucilla.


Lucilla's son Lucius was a child in Gladiator and is the nephew of the late Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), who murdered his own father, Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), so he could take the throne. Lucius was co-emperor of Rome with Commodus.

Maximus (Russel Crowe) left a strong impression on Lucius, who was sent away by his mother to Numidia, on the northern coast of Africa, which was just outside of the reach of the Roman Empire, between the first and second movies. Lucius doesn't understand why his mother would send him away, which creates a rift between them.

In Gladiator II, Lucius is now an adult and lives with his family in Numidia, but the peaceful city is invaded by General Marcus Acacius (who was trained under Maximus), and Lucius is forced into slavery. He is inspired by Maximus, and decides to become a gladiator and challenge the rule of Emperors Caracalla (Fred Hechinger) and Geta.

Lucius returns to Rome as a gladiator and is shocked to find his mother is in love with Acacius.

Fans were quick to react to Paul's big Gladiator II body transformation, with one Instagram user simply writing, "I am deceased."

"I just fell to my knees," another said.

"I FORGOT HOW TO BREATHE," a third wrote.

"I'm already pregnant," a fourth joked.

Shirtless Paul Mescal in Gladiator II
Paul underwent a huge body transformation for the role. Photo: Paramount Pictures

"I'm going to throw up," someone else added.

"He has no right to look this good 😍🔥," another said.

"Paul Mescal is my Roman Empire," one user joked.

Speaking about the trailer more broadly, one person wrote, "Came for hot men and was not disappointed."

"Pedro Pascal looks like a f***in god!" another said.

"I’m entertained… and overwhelmed, and unwell, and rewatching it for the 6th time at this point. It’s going to be amazing 👏🏻," a third added.

Speaking on Capital Radio about his body transformation, Paul said, "It’s a first-world problem. Like I had every amenity available to me. I had a great trainer. People telling me to eat, when to eat. And I think it’s just a byproduct.

"You have to train hard to be in a film like this and I kind of loved it. Of course, it gets tiresome at certain moments."

He continued, "It’s important to address the fact, you’ve got to be careful within the context of this. I had the best trainer in the world, I had the studio and production supporting me in this all and you want to provide a character and a template that allows people’s imaginations to be activated.

Paul Mescal working out
Paul training for the film. Photo: YouTube

"You have to make an audience believe this is somebody that would survive intense violence throughout the film and you’re not gonna survive that if you’re somebody just running around Hackney."

He also told ET that he didn't want his body to look too "aesthetic".

"There was a lot of work that went into it," he said. "Lots of lifting heavy things… lots of squatting, pushing, pulling. We didn’t kind of change the wheel with it, it was all kind of pretty standard in that regard, but I was keen for it not to look false or kind of overly aesthetic in any way."

Fans may have loved Paul and Pedro, but many were left fuming at the music choice, with Kanye West and Jay-Z's 'No Church in the Wild' featuring in the trailer.

"Gladiator has an amazing soundtrack, how can you not use it?" one X user said. "And if not, there are better options than this. Fire whoever agreed on this song. Nothing against the song itself, but it doesn't fit at all. This is how you ruin the first impression of a sequel no one asked for."

"They better not have rap in the movie or I’ll lose my s**t!!! The trailer was wack cause of the soundtrack," another said. "The original Gladiator had the best soundtrack... with classic music."

"Seriously? They put rap music to the trailer for a Roman gladiator movie... a sequel to a movie that had a deeply moving instrumental & era-appropriate soundtrack," a third wrote.

"Why do you put rap/hip hop melodies in every soundtrack trailer? God dammit, I miss Hans Zimmer," one Instagram user said.

Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal in Gladiators II
Paul and Pedro Pascal in a fight scene. Photo: Paramount Pictures

"The music was a TERRIBLE idea. Trailer looks bomb tho 👏," another said.

"This song simply ruined the entire atmosphere and dialogues of the trailer. Why didn't they call Hans Zimmer? 😢," someone else added.

"Ok…that music downgraded everything," yet another wrote.

"Suspend the person who's responsible for the trailer music. With all due respect," one filmgoer added.

Others defended the choice, with one fan writing, "Do people actually think GLADIATOR II will have a rap soundtrack?! It's a trailer, y'all."


"Guys calm down about the Gladiator music okay, the guy who did the music for Shrek is doing the soundtrack so we are guaranteed to get some Smashmouth in there it’s all gonna be fine," another said.

"Wait, do people think the actual Gladiator II soundtrack is going to have modern hip hop?" a third said.

"I always felt the first Gladiator would’ve been improved with a Jay-z soundtrack so I’m glad they’ve moved in that direction," another joked.

Gladiator II is out in Aussie cinemas on November 14 and we are already ready to make the Roman Empire our entire personality when that time comes.

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