The Passion of the Christ was a huge hit in 2004 and is required Holy Week viewing for many Christians, but director Mel Gibson's film didn't tell the whole story of Easter.
True to its title -- inspired by medieval Catholic "passion plays" -- it focused primarily on the last 12 hours of Christ's earthly life (with flashbacks to earlier Biblical episodes and scenes from Jesus at home in Nazareth), culminating in the Crucifixion.
What it didn't do, however, was deal with the Resurrection in any extended way -- just this simple, elegiac scene at the end:
In 2016, fresh off his return to directing with the faith-infused Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson announced that he was teaming with Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace (Secretariat, Heaven Is for Real) for a sequel to his 2004 hit, currently called The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection.
After enduring hypothermia, pneumonia, a separated shoulder and being struck by lightning during his first go-round playing Jesus -- and still bearing a 14-inch lash scar on his back -- Catholic star Jim Caviezel is returning to the role.
Fox News Channel's streaming service Fox Nation has offered The Passion during this Lent and Easter season (it also aired on UPtv and is on Amazon Prime and other platforms). Caviezel sat down with EWTN news anchor and FNC commentator Raymond Arroyo for a Fox Nation interview.
Here's some of FNC's report of what Caviezel said when asked about Resurrection.
"Fifth draft," revealed Caviezel. "It's going to be a masterpiece. It's gonna be the biggest film in world history, I believe it will be based on what I feel in my heart.
"It's so imperative in this time. These films can't be made now," he said, suggesting that the film industry overlooks biblical films. "The films they make are Marvel Comics movies. You'll see Superman. You won't see Jesus... I got to play the greatest superhero there ever was."
The IMDB currently lists Resurrection as being in pre-production for a planned March 31, 2021, release, a few days before Easter on April 4. But, as filming doesn't appear to have even begun, that's extremely unlikely, if not impossible.
All we know right now is it focuses on the three days between the Crucifixion and Christ's return from the dead. According to IMDB.com, along with Caviezel as Jesus, the film also brings back Passion cast members Maia Morgenstern (Mary), Christo Jivkov (John) and Franceso De Vito (Peter). Gibson directs and is a producer; Caviezel is listed as an executive producer.
So, you might assume the film would be less violent than its predecessor, except, we're still dealing with Mel Gibson.
In a 2016 interview with Stephen Colbert, Gibson hinted that he might show Jesus' descent into Hell between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. There have also been subsequent rumors that Resurrection will specifically cover the "Harrowing of Hell," the Old and Middle English term for when Christ liberated righteous souls during that time.
If this is true (and again, we don't know for sure it is), that won't be pretty.
Considering the toll the COVID-19 virus has taken on the entertainment industry and theater chains, it may take divine intervention to get The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection onto big screens around the world. But, if any film is likely to get some help from On High, this may be the one.
Image: Icon Productions
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager and blog editor at Family Theater Productions.