Release Date: August 2
Director: Noam Murro
Rating: Not Yet Rated
The bloody, over-the-top story of 300 is expanded upon as a new hero steps forward against the invading forces of a gold-glimmering Persian overlord waging a grand naval battle against the armies of Athens.
What We Know:
The legendary 300 Spartans, who now "dine in hell," may have fulfilled their role in rallying the sentiments of Greece to take arms against the Persian invasion waged by Au-obsessed Persian King, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro, reprising his role). However, if this was a story of how a great fire was started, that was merely the initial spark. The self-anointed living God has now burdened himself with a grand war between kingdoms taking place on multiple theaters. Perhaps acknowledging that even he cannot oversee such a campaign alone, the ersatz deity calls upon the wisdom of a wise general; A beautiful one, at that.
Artemisia (Eva Green) takes command of Persia's naval forces in a well-planned large-scale invasion of Greek lands that would serve to definitively expand Xerxes' brutal empire across what we now know as the Mediterranean Sea. However, just as we saw with King Leonidas of Sparta on land at Thermopylae, another hero would step forward to inspire the Allied forces in their campaign against the invaders at sea in Athenian general, Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton).
With the word of Leonidas' sacrificial deeds still resonating throughout the lands, the former politician-turned military leader, Themistocles will need to find his own calling to muster the forces of Greece together to repel the invaders. Yet, Artemisia is both calculating and smart as she is gorgeous. Under her lead, the Persian machine of military might is more than a match for the Greek forces' penchant for passionate yelling and line-ups of symmetrically-oiled pecs. At the mercy of the winds, it will be a monstrous maritime battle of wits that will spill over to a grandiose ground battle.
Filling the cast are Jack O'Connell and Callan Mulvey. Plus, Andrew Tiernan, Andrew Pleavin, and Lena Headey are back to reprise their respective roles from the original 300 as Ephialtes the hunchback, Daxos of Arcadia, and Queen Gorgo.
(Set photo of cast and crew from 300: Rise of an Empire tweeted by star, Jack O'Connell.)
What We Expect:
This follow-up film to 2006's original 300, based on Frank Miller's original graphic novel, will not have the benefit of following Miller's work frame-by-frame. Director Noam Murro, working closely with original 300 helmer, Zack Snyder, will nevertheless take an originally-conceived script (co-penned by Snyder) and look to emulate the over-the-top, buff-bodied, quasi-historical nature. However, this time, the focus will shift between three primary characters in Themistocles, Artemisia, and King Xerxes. In fact, the film's original aim was to be a story set with the megalomaniacal Xerxes as its central figure.
Yet, even in its current form, the film will look to delve into the back-stories of these characters through various context-setting flashbacks. There are many auspicious possibilities for character studies with that trio of critical players. Yet, Xerxes' story seems the most intriguing. What was a rather odd, but opaquely-sinister character from 300 will be peeled back and revealed as a man desperately looking to erase the stain left after the failed campaign to conquer Greece waged by his father, King Darius (Yigal Naor). We'll find out just how this prince-turned-king evolved into a buff-bling-decked despot who carries the belief that he is a living God. It turns out that belief is actually tied to the campaign to conquer Greece. (Xerxes has daddy issues? Are we sure that J.J. Abrams didn't write this?)
There is still not enough info out there to determine exactly what point the events of the film take place in the 300 canon. Still, it is generally believed that this story will weave itself into the events of the original film, leading us past them to what will surely be amazingly epic and bloody battles that take place in their aftermath. -- Also, there will be glistening abs.
Be sure to check out more of G4's 2013 movie previews throughout the month of January.