Revered graphic novelist Frank Miller (Sin City) spoke to the L.A. Times this week about Xerxes - the prequel to his comic book-turned-movie hit 300 and a project which director Zack Snyder is already interested in adapting into a movie.
Xerxes will be released in six parts next year by publisher Dark Horse Comics (Hellboy), and will focus on the history of its titular character (played by Rodrigo Santoro in the film 300), the leader of the Persian empire whose army clashed with King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his Spartan warriors during the Battle of Thermopylae - the focus of Miller's original 300 comic book and Snyder's highly-stylized film adaptation.
According to Miller, Xerxes will dwarf 300 in terms of sheer epic scale - or, as he put it:
"This is a more complex story. The story is so much larger. The Spartans in '300' were being enclosed by the page as the world got smaller. This story has truly vast subjects. The Athenian naval fleet, for instance, is a massive artistic undertaking and it [sic] dwarfed by the Persian fleet, which is also shown in this story. The story has elements of espionage, too, and it's a sweeping tale with gods and warriors."
Miller went on later to describe Xerxes himself as "a megalomaniac [who] takes everything as a sign of his godhood." As you'll see in the image from the Xerxes comic book below, the character's god complex very much manifests itself in his extravagant, gold accessory-laced appearance and grandiose demeanor - at least in Miller's tale, that is.
For more information from Miller about the 300 prequel comic book, the acclaimed graphic novelist's feelings about working in the film medium again, and the political controversy that broke out following the release of the movie 300, you should read the entire L.A. Times article yourself.
The biggest concern for moviegoers at this point is whether or not 300 director Zack Snyder is interested in adapting Xerxes for the big screen. If so, it would be the third time the filmmaker has tackled the comic book genre and the first time since last year's semi-hit, Watchmen.
Snyder and 300 producer Thomas Tull have reportedly been given access to some completed pages from Miller's Xerxes, with the early consensus being positive. As Snyder himself - who is currently at work on his own original project, Sucker Punch - simply put it:
"If the book is awesome and compelling then yes, we're interested."
300 was undeniably a box office hit back in 2007 when it grossed over $456 million worldwide. While critics were mixed in their reaction, fans generally adored the film's glorification of violence, its stunning visual effects, and the unabashed over-the-top nature of the movie, from the production design to Butler's now-legendary hammy performance as the constantly yelling Leonidas. The notion that the prequel will be brought to the big screen - probably in 3D - with or without Snyder's involvement seems pretty likely for now.
What do you think? Will you be picking up a copy of the first issue of Xerxes when it comes out next year? Does a prequel to 300 sound like a good idea? Sound off in the comments section below.