Zack Snyder Working on ‘Xerxes’ Script

Published 5 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 6:11 pm,

Although graphic novelist Frank Miller’s Xerxes will not be published until next year, director Zack Snyder has already begun adapting the 300 “prequel” for the big screen – with the intention of eventually helming the film version himself.

Snyder began writing the Xerxes script with his 300 co-screenwriter Kurt Johnstad last week, though he admitted to the L.A. Times “… I don’t have a directing deal in place but we are writing it, so call that intent.  If there was a crime they could probably convict me.”

300 was a surprise smash back in 2007, though its hyper-stylized visual design and glorification of violence in the name of duty and honor drew a mixed critical reception.

Its success did open the door for Snyder to bring the revered Watchmen comic book to the big screen – as well as the chance to develop projects of his own creation like this year’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and his in-development Sucker Punch movie.

Xerxes will be brought to life in the same fiery visceral style as that of 300, if Snyder has his way.  While the inevitable “will it be in 3D?” issue has not yet been raised by any of the involved parties, it’s a definite possibility – especially given that 300 may be re-released in 3D itself.

3002 Zack Snyder Working on Xerxes Script

Xerxes is neither a sequel or a true prequel to 300.  It chronicles the history of the infamous Persian leader beginning back at the Battle of Marathon (approx. 490 B.C.) and concludes with the Battle of Artemisium – which occurred at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae in 300.

You can read Snyder’s personal take on Xerxes’ backstory below:

“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.’ “

Xerxes in 300 Zack Snyder Working on Xerxes Script

The androgynous Xerxes in the film version of 300 left a lot of moviegoers perplexed – he was not exactly the kind of character whose origins seemed of immense interest.  Miller previously described his upcoming Xerxes comic book as more of “a sweeping tale with gods and warriors” and Snyder seems to envision the movie as having the potential to be a similarly large-scale, epic tale.

Whether or not Snyder will get to realize that vision on the big screen himself remains unsettled for now, though you can expect that to change once the Xerxes script is complete.

Source: L.A. Times

TAGS: 300, Xerxes
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  1. I dont feel it will draw a new audience other than a percentage of those who really liked 300.

  2. Xerxes is a douche.

    • how do you know you just watch movies you don’t know anything about history so mind your own f****n business and dont say anything

  3. Most conquerers are egocentric, maniacal and yes overall douchebags..history however is written by the winners so potraits are not always accurate.

    • you know i dont mind what you think about conquerors
      but this stupid plot of the whole is just stupid i mean you can manipulate history but there is a long difference between a movie that does everything to preferences racism (300) and a movie that crosses any border to fight racism (inglorious bastards)

      and beside that the action is stupid only blood looked a bit believable

  4. i think once we hear more, it will become more ineresting. Miller is a legend and a genius, he just needs to stay away from a directors chair lol.

  5. “Darius gets his a$$ kicked at Marathon but OMG! he’s super cool and like a great guy. Even the Greeks are like ‘Duuuude!!! Darius is like this totally AWESOME surfer guy!!!!!! Wo!!’ After Darius dies, yeah? Xerxes is like TOTALLY pi$$ed, but Darius said “Hey little man, the Greeks are cool. BTFO. Drink some wine or smoke a few and chill. Whatever.” So that’s when he calls in, like, Dr Strange and all these weirdos? and says ‘This SUCKS, bro!!! Give me some like wicked rings and stuff so I dont get MY a$$ kicked? Cool.’”

    Nothing to worry about here then.

    • LMAO!! I think Miller’s genius has expired…He used to write great stuff and revolutionized the comic book industry bringing it into the 21st century and making the books cool for adults…but I haven’t enjoyed anything he has done in the last ten years and The SPirit film made me lose a lot of respect for him(he wrote that God awful screenplay)… Somebody get me a tie! I don’t care what kind, it sure as hell better be red!

      • From Snyder apparently having de-evolved back into a 12-year-old on a sugar rush, I suspect Miller’s Xerxes will be to 300 what The Dark Knight Strikes Again was to TDK Returns. I’ve still not seen The Spirit yet! Really as bad as everyone says?

        • With dialogue like:

          “I’m gonna kill you all kinds of dead!”
          “I had you beat, just like eggs.”
          “I’ve known some pretty strange women in my time but this one, she’s got the final word on strange.”

          Don’t put yourself through it…SPARE YOUR MIND THE BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA!!! If you do watch it and you become catatonic, remember, you’ve been warned!! :)

          • Oh my days, I see what you mean – thanks for the warning!

            Number 3 reminds me of Chief Wiggum’s “Why are the pretty ones always insane?”, which is actually a much better line. The others sound like they should be delivered by Rainier Wolfcastle in a fedora.

            “I’m gonna kill you with all kinds of eggs.” Now that one I might pay money for, even though it’d probably be in 3D.

            • ” Book ‘em Lou. One count of being a bear. And one count of being an accessory to being a bear.”

              Wiggum is awesome!! :)

              • In another life he’d have made a great philosopher!

        • The Spirit was indeed mind-blowingly terrible.


          • You wouldn’t be keen on a sequel then, Vic? :-)

            • hahah

              • I liked it, i mean it wasnt great but thats what i would think a real superhero fight would be like, that they would get tired not have stamina of a demi-god.

        • you liked 300. oh you big fat trashed dentist.

          • LOL, pj! And your point is…?

        • I would guess more like the Star Wars prequels compared to the first two, not just a step down, but a fall down.

          Expect what was once a creepy, menacing, and effective baddie to show his sensitive side and be traumatized by a bunch of nasty slave-owning, boy-loving Greeks. Also expect a bunch of PC grovelling to apologize for all the @$$-kickery of “diverse” non-western cultures that went before (or after in a strict chronological sense).

          I still have my ancient, worn-out copy of The Dark Knight Returns, It’s alleged sequel reminded me of the Sick Boy rule: had it, lost it.

          • If Xerxes goes all hearts & flowers on us it’ll be down to Snyder, BE. Miller may be many things, but a misty-eyed apologist he’s definitely not. I think the main difference here is that 300 was a straight adaptation of a graphic novel that had been out for a decade, whereas the production of Xerxes the movie seems to be taking place simultaneously with the comic. Are Snyder and Johnstad basing their screenplay on Miller’s finished script or just an outline? If the latter, this could bear as little resemblance to the comic as the Wanted movie did to its source material.

            I’m interested to see who’s colouring it. In my more cynical moments I imagine Lynn Varley’s inexplicably hideous splatterings on TDKSA as being the reason she and Miller are no longer an item…

  6. I am so not looking forward to this movie. Xerxes was a low point in an otherwise awesome movie. I cannot imagine 2 hours of looking at him and being asked to be sympathetic to a jerk.

    Does anyone not remember how awful Alexander was as a movie?

    Seems to be the same principle, if the audience cannot connect with a main character, it is a tough sell.

    • I watched Alexander with Oliver Stone’s commentary and thought Oh right, THAT’S the movie he was trying to make! As you say, what’s up there on the screen is all over the place.

      • 300 never pretended to be a realistic portrayal of the battle of Thermopylae, but rather the heavily embellished account of it’s sole Spartan survivor as he is getting the troops psyched up for the charge. Essentially it is war propaganda told from one man’s point of view, which begs the question, who’s going to tell Xerxes’ tale?

        300 played strongly into the right wing worldview, it’s polar opposite on the left was Avatar. They both succeeded because they knew the futility of trying to please everybody.

        Sometimes a hero descends into darkness, sometimes a villain redeems himself. I hope that Miller hasn’t fallen from creative genius to money-addicted hack. Even the best of us have bad ideas and bad days, I pray that TDKSA and The Spirit were just that.

        • I agree, 300 was Miller filtering history through the fictional Dilios for both his and the character’s own ends. Xerxes won’t have the equivalent “buffer” unless he invents another narrator with an as-yet unknown agenda.

          You too on The Spirit then! I actually want to see the damn thing now! I’m intrigued by what took place in Frank Miller’s head: that what seemed to begin as a genuine labour of love and a tribute to a man he knew and admired, wound up – from the trailers I saw and what everyone confirms – looking like a personal mission to dig up Will Eisner’s corpse and burn it in a dumpster. TDKSA baffles me that way too.

          • Do you know if Miller does a commentary on the Spirit DVD? If so and anyone’s heard it, what’s the verdict on that? Him NOT doing one might be some kind of verdict in itself.

  7. Cool, ill be waiting for it to play on HBO though

  8. Something else just occurred to me: Miller’s description “a sweeping tale with gods and warriors”. Does he mean he’s planning on literal representations of the Greek pantheon this time around? If not, why mention them, as if they weren’t present as a concept in 300? My main problem with Troy (along with Orlando Bloom) was that if this was history retold as a myth in which the hero’s mother was a minor deity, where on earth (literally) were the gods? They’re right there in Homer’s Iliad constantly pulling strings behind the scenes. It’s no secret that Miller took a few liberties with history on 300 for effect – some would call that mythologising, others (pj presumably) propaganda – but I’m wondering if he’s going to make “divine manipulation” a physical part of this story rather than simply “divine guidance”.

  9. OK, I like the thought because so much more happened in history, but that said, I would like to see the aftermath too. Gerard could play his own Bastard (eldest)son, haunted by Himself, Leonidas, to lead the revenge battle a year later. The son could have left at the marriage with Lena, having been his Fathers favorite until he took her as Queen. Then his wife could die in childbirth when he’s at battle(if history allows) and he could keep Lena as queen as she is closer to his age than Dad’s. (Athens was burned and all except the evil acolades of Delphi were saved due to refusing to evacuate on ships to an island nearby after Leonida’s gave them time, and his life, to evacuate)

    • With all due respect, Ruth, that’d be taking things to a whole different level of invention!

      • TBDentist,
        Shouldn’t any possible sequel/prequel do just that? I faithfully followed Jonah Hex in the eighties, but the movie wasn’t the story or character I knew. Nor worth watching.
        They should maybe go into depth on Xerxes childhood, but like any who sell their souls for power, as mythology/history says Xerxes did after Darius exclaimed “Only a god can beat the Spartans” on his death bed. He could hardly be written sympathetically.
        Clint Eastwood showed both side of Iwo Jima, but never made the Japan government look good. Just the common people. Come to think of it, He did the same with our side.