New '300: Rise of an Empire' Featurette: Themistocles Fights For His Country

With the premiere date of 300: Rise of an Empire - the sequel-prequel to Zack Snyder's 2007 sword and sandals hit 300 - just days away, Legendary has gone into full-on promo mode to hype the upcoming film; as of now, there's no shortage of footage available to amp up anticipation. After releasing a steady stream of trailers over the last eight months, fresh preview material has begun pouring in at a faster rate in recent weeks, from yesterday's extended TV trailer to in-depth featurettes that delve into the movie's backstory.

Of these, the most recent revolves around 300: Rise of an Empire's villains, with the brunt of its focus falling the shoulders of the vengeful Artemisia (Eva Green). Today, that piece has been answered with a brand new video (seen above) dedicated solely to her heroic Grecian foil, Themistocles (Animal Kingdom's Sullivan Stapleton), the Athenian general tasked with meeting Artemisia's massive fleet of Persian soldiers on the open waters which lie south of his homeland; it also includes a healthy dollop of plot to go along with its central character profile.

The takeaway regarding Themistocles is that he's not a Leonidas stand-in; they might have the same goals, the same dream of a united Greece, and they might both be pretty great at making impromptu, inspiring battlefield speeches, but he's very much his own man. (As he should be, since, like Leonidas, Themistocles is a real historical figure.)

If anything, Themistocles appears to be quite the pragmatist, though for all of his shrewd planning, he's just as fond of brute force as clever tactics. Ramming Persian ships with his own seems to be one of his key maneuvers in the film's naval engagements. In other words, Themistocles understands the ins and outs of battle, but he also headbutts arrows for fun. He's one tough customer, though of course that's by necessity - someone has to be able to go toe to toe with Artemisia, after all.

More interesting than his prowess as a warrior, however, is the fact that Themistocles is actually partially responsible for Xerxes' transformation into the feared God King of the last film. Whether that pays off in 300: Rise of an Empire's narrative or just serves as a necessary function of the story remains to be seen, but the intention here seems to be one of franchise maintenance; 300: Rise of an Empire and 300 have to tie together, but hopefully there's more of a purpose to these details than continuity.

We'll find out for sure come Friday. In the meantime, this bit makes Themistocles looks like the hero Greek both needs and deserves, as well as a worthy heir to Leonidas' brand of leadership.


300: Rise of an Empire arrives in theaters March 7th, 2014.

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