Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have officially gone their separate ways – with the latter taking greater control of its DC properties post-Man of Steel – but there are still a handful of projects waiting in the wings, to be distributed under the watch of both studios. That includes the young adult fantasy novel adaptation Seventh Son, starring Jeff Bridges and Chronicles of Narnia alum Ben Barnes as a pair of Medieval warriors battling supernatural creatures – not to mention, the 300 prequel/sequel/whatever installment, titled 300: Rise of an Empire.
Both Seventh Son and Rise of an Empire debuted new footage during the WB panel at Comic-Con last month, after the actual films had been removed from the 2013 release schedule (in favor of theatrical premiere dates in the first quarter of 2014). Unfortunately, those weren’t at the Con will have to wait a little longer to see new material from the 300 project - as the newly-released international trailer is just a truncated version of the first U.S. theatrical promo.
300: Rise of an Empire is based on the “Xerxes” graphic novel – as written by the 300 comic book’s creator Frank Miller – which was adapted into a script by Zack Snyder and his 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad. Snyder’s involvement with the project was negligible after a certain point during pre-production – since he was busy with rebooting the Superman franchise when Rise of an Empire was filming – but the trailers continue to use his name as a major selling point. After all, it’s best to emphasize that the movie was produced by the guy who directed 300 and Man of Steel - as opposed to, having “From Smart People director Noam Murro” as your promotional tagline.
For those who are confused as to when Rise of an Empire takes place relative to 300: the former will focus largely on the Naval Battle of Artemisium – which took place around the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae in 300 – in addition to exploring what inspired the Persian leader Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) to invade the major Greek city-states (and the aftermath). The Rise of an Empire trailers have been designed to highlight the film’s immediate connections to events in 300, with footage of Xerxes surveying the bloody fallout of King Leonidas’ (Gerard Butler) last stand – in addition to scenes where Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) rallies the Greeks to take up arms against their invaders.
Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom) as the Greek warrior Themistocles and Eva Green (Dark Shadows) as the Persian Navy’s leader Artemisia, are the real stars of Rise of an Empire – along with Santoro reprising as Xerxes – whereas Headey has indicated that she will only appear in supporting capacity, at the most. Frankly, until we get more footage of the actual Rise of an Empire leads in action, it will be difficult to fairly gauge whether or not they can carry the film - though, for his part, Murro seems to have done (if nothing else) a serviceable job replicating Snyder’s filmmaking style from the first movie.
300: Rise of an Empire opens in U.S. theaters on March 7th, 2014.