Although graphic novelist Frank Miller's Xerxes will not be published until next year, director Zack Snyder has already begun adapting the 300 "prequel" for the big screen - with the intention of eventually helming the film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.
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.' "
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