Ever since news broke that Warner Bros. was developing a spin-off of their 2006 hit 300, details on the project have been hard to come by. The original film launched both director Zack Snyder and star Gerard Butler onto the A-list.

We already knew that Snyder would be too busy wrapping up Man of Steel to helm the new project, though he did co-write the script. Now it seems that Butler won’t be involved either.

The Scottish-born actor – whose surfing drama Chasing Mavericks is released in October – recently discussed the tentatively titled 300: Battle of Artemisia with MTV News, who asked if he would reprise his role as fearless Spartan King Leonidas.

Here’s what Butler had to say:

“Oh, yeah, I’m not doing it. They’re filming [the ‘300’ sequel] right now. I wish them the best, but it didn’t [work out]. It wasn’t really my thing.”

Until now, it had been long-rumored that Butler might have at least a cameo in the film, especially given that the story takes place concurrently with the events of the original 300. Based on Frank Miller’s Xerxes graphic novel, the film centers largely on the Persian ruler played by Rodrigo Santoro in 300 and features new characters like Greek general Themistocles and Persian naval commander Artemisia.

Eva Green (Casino Royale) is attached to take on the latter role, and with Butler officially not involved in the production, she is the biggest name currently attached. This may well leave the task of luring fans back to theaters on Santoro’s shoulders, as his flamboyant villain is likely to be the only major returning character from the original film.

Butler was still a rising star when 300 became a box office sensation. So perhaps this spin-off – directed by Noam Murro (Smart People) – could provide a similar boost to Santoro’s career. That all may depend on whether or not fans are willing to revisit this world without the fierce warrior that inspired men everywhere to bellow out “This is Sparta!” at a moment’s notice. We’ll find out next summer.

300: Battle of Artemisia will storm into theaters on August 2nd, 2013.

Source: MTV News