What Direction Will It Take?
Cinema has a unique ability to bring together people who may not normally interact. When The Passion of The Christ was released in 2004, it was a monumental success, grossing over $612 million worldwide. The film was hailed as the most well-made and brutal depiction of the crucifixion ever brought to the big screen. It is considered the most successful faith-based film of all time by many. The movie does what great cinema should do; it moves and challenges us to think. It challenges us to come to terms with one of the most iconic images in our culture – a bleeding, tortured man nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns on his head. The film also inspires the imagination with its depiction of miracles, celestial beings, good and evil, and the meaning of loyalty, betrayal, and forgiveness.
Recently, news of a sequel has been released, and fans are eagerly anticipating what Mel Gibson has planned next. The announcement of the sequel was surprising, given that Family Guy made a joke about the idea years ago. However, according to actor Jim Caviezel, who has read a draft of the script, we are in for a treat. He described it as Gibson’s magnum opus and the Empire Strikes Back of Christianity. The book The Gospel According to Mel Gibson: Fact, Faith and Fantasy in The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection may provide some clues to what we can expect in the film. While we don’t know much about Gibson’s plans for the sequel, we do know that much of the movie will take place in Hell, where we will likely get a taste of Gibson’s interpretation of eternal suffering.
Noah, a spin-off from the original movie, was released in 2014 and directed by Darren Aronofsky. The film took many tonal cues from The Passion of The Christ. While it was not a direct spin-off, it was comparable to Solo or Rogue One in the Star Wars franchise. It dealt with an iconic character from the Bible, Noah, who may have been seen as a lunatic. The movie did show angels in the form of stone creatures who helped Noah on his journey, similar to what William Shatner had planned for Star Trek 5’s finale.
Filmmakers are often faced with a complex challenge when depicting angels or other biblical lore. On one hand, they want to tap into a specific aesthetic for what God, an angel, or a demon may look like. On the other hand, they may be attacking a faith-based audience’s intentionally unknowable sacred concept. Films are often careful to leave sacred icons vague so that a spiritual person can still be on board the narrative. There is a necessity in film to communicate an idea effectively, and textures of nature often appear as a kind of universal metaphor. It will not be surprising if celestial beings are represented by sentient trees or rocks in the sequel to The Passion of the Christ.
Gibson has hinted at a departure from the way the resurrection of Jesus was told in the Bible. He has mentioned that the story will have a main event but will be juxtaposed with everything else in the movie. Gibson has also thrown hints and clues without revealing the gist of the story, but so far, we know that there will be a huge focus on Jesus’s descent into Hell to fight Satan and his dark kingdom. The resurrection and ascension into Heaven will surely be explored in the next chapter, and fans are eager to see what Gibson has in store.
Overall, given the box office success of the first Passion of the Christ film, there is no denying that a sequel could be equally successful. Like Top Gun: Maverick, a long-awaited sequel to Passion of the Christ could also be a box office hit. The film is sure to be a smash hit, regardless of whether or not Caviezel returns for an additional installment.
Cinema is unique in its ability to bring together groups of people who may otherwise not commune naturally. When The Passion of The Christ hit theaters in 2004, it was a monumental success, raking in $612.1 million worldwide. The film was the most well-made and brutal depiction of the crucifixion ever committed to film. It is regarded as the most successful faith-based film of all time for many. It does what any great piece of cinema should do; it moves and makes us think. It challenges audiences to reconcile one of the most iconic images of our culture, a bleeding, tortured man nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns atop his head. The film also inspires the imagination in the realm of miracles, celestial beings, good and evil, and the meaning of loyalty, betrayal, and forgiveness.
Updated June 20, 2023: If you’re interested in The Passion of the Christyou’ll be pleased to know we’ve updated this article with new info surrounding the sequel.
For all these reasons and more, regardless of world view, we anticipate Mel Gibson’s next installment with curiosity, fear, love, excitement, pity, and shame; choose your emotion. The news of a sequel certainly was perplexing, as Family Guy made a joke about the very concept of a Passion of the Christ sequel years ago. According to actor Jim Caviezel who read a recent draft of the script, we’re in store for Mel Gibson’s magnum opus. The Empire Strikes Back of Christianity is apparently a masterpiece and must be seen to be believed.
While there isn’t much known about Gibson’s plans for the sequel (other than what the Bible tells us), the book The Gospel According to Mel Gibson: Fact, Faith and Fantasy in The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection may provide some clues. The book is by Helen Bond, a celebrated professor of Christian Origins and the New Testament. While Satan only had a couple of cameos in Passionit sounds like much of the film will take place in Hell, where we will likely be treated to Gibson’s interpretation of eternal suffering. This experience will likely put Clive Barker’s Hellraiser 2: Hellbound to shame. Horror hounds will surely flock to the theater for this nightmarish entry, which may shake some of the corny faith-based genre shackles loose and give us a true cinematic spectacle that will give George Lucas a run for his money.
Noah is a Spin-Off
Ten years later, Paramount Pictures released Noahdirected by Darren Aronofsky, which clearly took many tonal cues from Passion. Not quite an Ewok Adventure spin-off, may be more comparable to Solo or Rogue One. Certainly, an iconic character from the Bible, but possibly a lunatic, which the movie didn’t shy away from. Ironically, it did show angels in the form of stone creatures helping Noah on his journey, akin to what William Shatner had planned for Star Trek 5‘s finale (but later scrapped), where we see Kirk and crew go up against the all-mighty God in one of the franchise’s most divisive entries, 1989’s The Final Frontier.
When depicting angels or other biblical lore, filmmakers are often dealt a complex challenge. On the one hand, there’s a temptation to tap into a specific aesthetic for what God, an angel, or a demon may be. On the other hand, you may be attacking a faith-based audience’s intentionally unknowable sacred concept. Films are often careful to leave sacred icons vague so that a spiritualist can still be on board the narrative.
A Larger Story At Work
Still, there is a necessity in film to communicate an idea effectively, and textures of nature often appear as a kind of universal metaphor. It will not be surprising if celestial beings are represented by sentient trees or rocks in the sequel to The Passion of the Christ. Still, considering Mel Gibson’s instincts toward conventional wisdom, we may be in store for something more specific and potentially divisive. Gibson has seeded what some have interpreted as leanings toward embracing ancient alien theory. When discussing his plans for The Passion sequel on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2016, Gibson emphasized “another realm” that may or may not be isolated to the confines of hell. The talk was vague enough to invite cosmic purists to the table, allowing for a full-scale, no holds barred approach to biblical mythology, which quickly invites cosmic speculation.
While unlikely, Gibson may have plans to show audiences God’s spaceship and the interworking of his laboratory. Some have cited Marvel’s approach to celestial beings, which are powerful aliens with longer life spans than humans. These beings sometimes mingle with earthlings, much like Zeus in Greek mythology.
During several interviews, Mel Gibson kept repeating that the story is not going to be linear, indicating that the movie will be about the resurrection of Jesus but will probably depart from the way it was told in the bible. He also mentions that the story will have a main event but will be juxtaposed with everything else in the movie. Gibson keeps throwing hints and clues without revealing the gist of the story, but so far, we know that there will be a huge focus on Jesus’s descent into Hell to fight Satan and his dark kingdom.
Early Christians believed that after Jesus died, he descended into hell to rescue the souls of the innocent and the righteous from eternal suffering. In fact, the bible mentions this event just in passing, so the main source the film will be drawing from could be “The Harrowing of Hell,” which is Catherine Emmerich’s vision of Jesus as he began collecting lost souls and revealing himself to them, bringing them from the clutches of hell to the blessed company of prophets and saints.
Return of the Living Jesus Christ
The resurrection and ascension into Heaven will surely be explored in the next chapter, which fans are eager to know Mel Gibson’s artistic plans for. The title, The Passion of the Christ: Ressurectionclearly indicates it will focus on Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus could return in a picture-perfect form, possibly using de-aging techniques to achieve an idealized vision of Christ. The ascension into heaven could be accomplished with lots of light and over-exposure to leave the concept ambiguous enough to align with a faith-based experience. Alternatively, Gibson may embrace Jim Caviezel’s 18 years of age to his advantage, showing a more rugged man who has returned from the dead, still bearing all his flesh wounds. This approach would surely inspire controversy, which Gibson is no stranger to, and could ignite passionate discourse between religious scholars and horror movie buffs alike.
Furthermore, should Gibson get technical with the ascension, he may lean more into a sci-fi approach involving celestial spaceships or even alien lords in majestic white robes. Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal comes to mind when the Skeksis merge with the Mystics, resulting in glowing godlike creatures called urSkeks. A visually imaginative take on God’s physical form and technology would surely excite genre fans but may alienate the faith-based target audience. It’s unclear at this point exactly how Gibson plans to bring it all to life, but the film is sure to be a smash hit regardless.
Overall, given the box office success of the first Passion of the Christ film, there’s no denying that a sequel could be equally successful. Tom Cruise’s latest outing, Top Gun: Maverickhas been so successful that its box office numbers are being compared to The Passion of the Christ‘s 2004 performance. Both films did extremely well over multiple weekends, not just the opening. Like Top Gun: Mavericka long-awaited sequel to Passion of the Christ, could also be a box office hit.
Meanwhile, Caviezel has spoken out in the past that the first film may have affected his career negatively, but that’s not to say he wouldn’t return for an additional installment. Cavizel has certainly courted controversy in recent years, citing Q’anon conspiracies. Yet that may not deter Mel Gibson, who is no stranger to controversy.
When Would The Movie Start Production?
With all the anticipation created around this sequel, it’s hard not to look up the trailer on YouTube. Those who did would know that there are many videos labeled “The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection, Trailer.” And at the risk of being the bearer of bad news, none of these videos is the real trailer. They are basically created by fans as concept trailers where they speculate about the upcoming movie by bringing together scenes from the original movie.
Realistically it will be some time until a trailer is released, as production on the movie has not even started yet. There is no release date, no cast, and currently no real plans for the film other than the announcement. It is rumored production could start in 2023, yet nothing has been confirmed at this time.