Mike Fleming at Deadline Hollywood Daily has some details on the upcoming spinoff’s story, which comes directly from Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Because Miller wrote the story for the original “300,” we can have hope that Hollywood won’t break our hearts with this prequel that tells the back-story of Xerxes — the antagonist in the “300.” As we all know, it wasn’t the violence, ripped abs, or CGI that made “300” such a classic. It was the rich themes that boiled down to live free or die, what it means to be a man, and a fighting for a cause bigger than one’s self. You can bring together all of the same elements of “300,” but if you remove those themes it’s just another mind-numbing video game playing out on a big screen.
The film, a spinoff to 300, is one that the film’s original director Zack Snyder was going to direct. That was until Warner Bros and producer Chris Nolan offered him Man of Steel, and Snyder and wife and producing partner Debra Snyder put Xerxes aside and moved on to rebooting the Superman franchise because Warner Bros needed it. The Snyders have been all over this director selection process. Snyder had written a script with his 300 cohort Kurt Johnstad. Like 300, it is based on a Frank Miller graphic novel that will be shot with the kind of stylized period green-screen action visuals that became the signature of 300 and helped the film gross $456 million worldwide. Xerxes was the Persian leader seen in 300. Miller’s graphic novel told the story of how Xerxes became this peculiar god-like entity. That mythology goes back to the death of his father, Darius, from injuries sustained at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Darius had told his son not to attack the Greeks because they can only be punished by a god, and so Xerxes tried to transform himself into a deity to gain revenge.
The title has changed from “Xerxes” to “300: Battle of Artemisia” and more information on the potential directors can be found at DHD.