Ever since 300 hit theaters in 2007 to bank over $450 million – without 3D and with an R-rating – there’s been plenty of interest from the studio and fans for a follow-up. Whether that be a prequel or a sequel, and who would direct said film remained the points of contention for quite some time, but now we’re finally nearing the path of forward development.

Two months ago we learned the 300 prequel would no longer be titled Xerxes and now we have a new title for the film. We also now know the two candidates Warner Bros. is looking at to take over the director’s chair from Zack Snyder.

Snyder launched his career forward and introduced the now-overused, stylized slow-motion action with 300 and fans were excited to see him return to helm the follow-up. Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. giving him the opportunity to reboot the Superman franchise with Man of Steel instead, took him out of the director’s chair but he’s still intimately involved with the project and in the selection of his replacement.

Back at the end of ’09 we learned that Frank Miller had finished the story of the next 300 graphic novel, a prequel to be titled Xerxes.  Snyder affirmed for fans that he would work on the next movie until the graphic novel was finished. That happened and while work went into the art, Snyder began work on the screenplay.

Deadline has the scoop that the film has now been re-titled 300: Battle of Artemisia and that the two directors in the running are Noam Murro and Jaume Collet-Serra. These names may be unfamiliar to you, but that won’t be for long. Murro was chosen to direct Die Hard 5 and Collet-Serra is coming off directing the Liam Neeson thriller, Unknown.

As for the story of the prequel, it will explore the history Xerxes, beginning back at the Battle of Marathon (approx. 490 B.C.) and concluding with the Battle of Artemisium – which occurred at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae in 300. Back when doing press for Watchmen, Snyder explained that the next film would take place between the Battle of Thermopylae (480 B.C.) and the Battle of Plataea (479 B.C.) so with all of this new information, we’re getting a clearer picture of what Miller’s 300 follow-up is about.

Snyder’s description of the story reveals the extended timeline of the film’s story:

“Darius [the Persian king and father of Xerxes] gets wounded at Marathon and he’s super cool and like a great guy.  Even the Greeks are like ‘Darius is awesome.’  After Darius dies, Xerxes is so distraught, but Darius had told him, ‘Don’t attack the Greeks, only a god can punish the Greeks.’  So that’s when he calls his mystics and wizards and says, ‘Make me a god so I can avenge my father.'”

Are you psyched for another stylized take on the Greco-Persian Wars?

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Source: Deadline