In 2003, Mel Gibson, who had made a name for himself first as a breakout action star in films such as “Mad Max” and “Lethal Weapon” and then as an accomplished director of “Braveheart” and “The Patriot,” revealed he had been working on a film about the passion week of Jesus Christ. The film, originally simply titled “The Passion,” starred Jim Caviezel as Jesus, created controversy and curiosity before its 2004, which blew up the box office. The final box office run was more than $622 million, making it the biggest faith-based film and highest-grossing R-rated film at the time of its release.
Since “The Passion of the Christ” hints at the resurrection of Christ, it had long been rumored that Gibson and Caviezel would return for a sequel. In 2020, Caviezel revealed he had received a script.
“It’s called ‘The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection.’ It’s going to be the biggest film in world history,” Caviezel told the news website Breitbart.
For the “The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection” script, Gibson enlisted the help of “Braveheart” scribe Randall Wallace, who also penned “Man in the Iron Mans,” “Pearl Harbor,” “We Were Soldiers,” “Secretariat” and “Heaven is for Real.” The writer said he had been getting “lots of questions about the progress” but was “not ready to talk much about the movie, except to say I’m deeply excited and committed to the story.”
“There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” Caviezel added. “It’s great. Stay tuned. ‘Braveheart,’ that’s a film that took a long time to be able to crack. The same thing for ‘Passion.’ And the same thing for this. [Mel’s] finally got it. So that is coming.”
Edward Petin, writing for The National Catholic Registry, reported in September that many of the other cast members, such as Maia Morgenstern (Mary), Christo Jivkov (John), and Francesco De Vito (Peter) had also agreed to be in the film. He also said that filming would take place in Israel, Morocco, and some part of Europe, including Italy.
Jivkov passed away in March from a fight with cancer, which would prompt a recasting. It’s possible his death has further delayed the production.
“My dear friend Christo has lost his heroic battle with cancer,” Gibson said. “Right to the last moment he was filled with hope and his spirit was strong. I’ll miss him but I know his suffering is over and he has eternal bliss. God keep him.”
Although by nature of the title, the resurrection of Christ is expected to be the main focus, the film website ScreenRant theorized that the story may deviate slightly from that expectation.
“According to ‘Passion of the Christ 2’ updates, the sequel will be called ‘The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection,’ which at first glance seems like a logical approach; Christians believe Jesus died and rose from the dead, and ‘The Passion of the Christ’ ended with the briefest glimpse of the resurrected Jesus. Over the years, however, there have been consistent reports the resurrection itself will not be the main focus; rather, that the film will focus on the three days between Jesus’ death and resurrection, where many Christians believe Jesus descended into Hell. ‘The Passion of the Christ’ had many scenes that weren’t drawn from the Bible.”
If the “The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection” begins filming soon, some have speculated the release might coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original in February 2024, leading up to the Easter holiday.