Back in 2007, with just one swift kick to a Persian sternum by a really angry Gerard Butler, writer-director Zack Snyder kicked off a 1000 memes with his immensely popular, frame for frame, highly stylized adaptation of Frank Miller’s classic graphic novel, 300.
Now a sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, is on the horizon and despite the fact that Snyder is no longer in the director’s chair and Butler has moved on to less shouty roles, and judging by these first images and story details, we’re heading right back to that fantastical, blood soaked world that made millions of men experience great feelings of inadequacy.
While it’s being billed as a sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, is more of a parallelquel, as its script (which was co-written by Snyder and takes cues from Miller’s upcoming graphic novel Xerxes) details events that happened at the same time as when Leonida’s Spartans made their mythic stand against the armies of the Persian God-King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro).
This time around though, we have Greek general Themistokles (Animal Kingdom’s Sullivan Stapleton) who has to rally his “common-man troops” to engage the Persian forces at sea, a change of landscape that will allow for “a whole different choreography of fighting and war,” new director Noam Murro told USA Today. But it won’t just be the surface under the warrior’s feet that has changed, as Rise will also see an escalation in scale over what was shown in the previous film.
“[The events] happen over time in many different locations. The opportunities for the six distinct battles are even greater with different locations and tactics.”
Those six battles comes courtesy of the hands of Xerxe’s second-in-command and commander of the Persian navy, Artemisia (Eva Green), a vicious warrior out to settle a score after Greeks killed her family as a child. But she brings more to the table than just a taste for Grecian blood, as Murro explains:
“She’s got sex appeal, she’s ruthless and conniving. All the things that kill men. And she has a sword. I wouldn’t mess with her.”
This is a sentiment that Stapleton, Themistokles himself, agrees with.
“She does most of Xerxes’ dirty work in this film. She’s seeking revenge, and she does it well. She’s a force to be reckoned with.”
“Themistokles is battle-scarred and a warrior, but at the same time he’s a politician. He’s not the king. He has to rule in a democracy. It’s a different complexity of character.
“[His] people don’t want to fight, they even say that they are not Spartans. They are common people who have to do this to not be under the rule of a dictator. This is not a duplicate movie or a cookie-cutter. It’s a very different story to tell in keeping with the original flavor of 300.”
But while it may be a different story, it still maintains that innate badassery that Snyder highlighted in his film, as our heroes stand up to ridiculous odds.
“The few against the many is still here. It’s hundreds vs. hundreds of thousands. It’s about taking on the mightiest power of all with wisdom and tactics.”
As is expected, those tactics will probably involve wearing as little clothing as possible into battle, so that you can distract your enemies with your pectorals. As can be seen by the images below, showing us our first look at Themistokles as well as the suddenly not so “common-man” looking warriors under his command.
300: Rise of An Empire will be making a stand in cinemas on August 2, 2013.
Noam Murro (Smart People) directs 300: Rise of an Empire (formerly The Battle of Artemisia), based on Frank Miller’s upcoming prequel graphic novel Xerxes, and adapted by Zack Snyder (director of 300) and Kurt Johnstad (writer of 300 and Act of Valor). Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemesia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy.