A follow-up to Zack Snyder’s 300 has been in the works for quite some time, but with the director currently hard at work on the Superman reboot MAN OF STEEL the project had seemingly been put on the back-burner… after all, Frank Miller hasn’t even finished the graphic novel on which it’s to be based.
Well, seems none of these facts are stopping Warner Bros, who are marching forward with XERXES (as it has been known, more on that later) with all the determination of Gerald Butler’s 299 barely clothed buddies. News has come in that two directors are now currently in the running as Snyder’s replacement – neither of which being the previously reported Guy Ritchie (who I’m not a fan of per se, but have since come to accept he does have an interesting visual aesthetic, and for a 300 follow-up would be more than suited). First up, Noam Murro - with only one film under his belt, the 2008 Ellen Page indie comedy SMART PEOPLE, it’s hard to imagine why his name has come to the attention of the suits, until you realize that he’s also a prolific director of commercials, including several for the HALO series (he’s also attached to a possible fifth DIE HARD flick; guess his days of gentle indie comedy are behind him). The second name on Warner’s wish-list is Jaume Collet-Serra, director of last year’s Liam Neeson actioner UNKNOWN, and the little-seen horror gem ORPHAN (2009). As great as the latter is, I'm going to stick my neck out and plump for Murro bagging this one.
The film will also undergo a title change from the Scrabble-tastic XERXES, to 300: BATTLE OF ARTEMISIA. While not exactly a great title either, it’s a smart move for two reasons – 1) it clearly defines it as a follow-up, and 2) audiences 'en masse' will not be able to pronounce XERXES. Even some of us had to look it up when we first became aware of the project.
Story-wise, we’re looking at a prequel tale – but I’ll allow Mr Miller to sum the complexities of the narrative himself:
“The story starts with the Battle of Marathon. The lead character is Themistocles, who became warlord of Greece and built their navy. The story is very different than 300 in that it involves Xerxes search for godhood. The existence of gods are presupposed in this story and the idea is that he well on his way to godhood by the end of the story. With Themistocles I have a character who is almost the dead opposite of Leonidas in that Themistocles was a lying, conniving, brilliant, heroic figure. He was nicknamed ‘The Subtle Serpent’ and he always manages to do the exact right things that will result in him benefiting greatly.”
Snyder will not be wholly absent from the project thankfully (yep, I’m an unashamed fan – controversially I don’t personally think he’s made a bad film yet, including SUCKER PUNCH) with the filmmaker taking on Producer duties this time around.
No word when Warner Bros are scheduling 300: BATTLE OF ARTEMSIA for release, but given the FX requirements of the original (it takes a while to draw abs on 300 shirtless dudes), we’re probably looking at 2013 at the earliest.
Up for more 300? Let us know with your comments below!