The perfect sequel contains new and old tricks that blend to make a new movie with characters and stories that genuinely deserved closure or extension. Zack Snyer, the man with the vision behind Watchmen and 300 understands this, and has the foresight to see when a sequel could strike gold, or when it will just strike bottom.
At a screening prior to the release of Watchmen: The Director's Cut Blu-ray, Coming Soon reports, Snyder knew of no plans to make a sequel to Watchmen, and if a sequel were to manifest, he would not be a part of it. However, in regards to whether his previous film, 300, would be given a second installment, Snyder had good news to share with fans.
When released in 2007, 300 was the third biggest opening for an R-rated film ever. In the hopes of reproducing that success, Snyder is currently in talks with 300 creator Frank Miller about stepping up to the plate to take another swing for the fences in what’s going to be not quite a sequel, and not quite a prequel.
Few details are available this early in the process, but what is known is that the new movie would take place in the year between the epic death of Leonidas and leading up to Dilios’ (David Wenham) dramatic speech to the troops at the end of 300:
“And so my king died, and my brothers died, barely a year ago. Long I pondered my king's cryptic talk of victory. Time has proven him wise, for from free Greek to free Greek, the word was spread that bold Leonidas and his three hundred, so far from home, laid down their lives. Not just for Sparta, but for all Greece and the promise this country holds. Now, here on this ragged patch of earth called Plataea, Xerxes's hordes face obliteration!”
Snyder hopes to preserve the aesthetic of the first movie, but says that the second will be bigger, with more epic landscapes of Greece, including Athens and the Aegean. Commenting on the technology used in the production of 300, Snyder said “The tech we used…was not a revolution. It's basically what the weatherman has.” This same technology, he added, will once again be used during the making of the new installment, and that little will change when it comes to effects.
The 300 'follow-up' is currently untitled, probably due to the fact that Miller is still penning the next installment of the graphic novel. Snyder has said that he will have no hand in the new graphic novel, that it will be solely a creation of Miller’s, and only when it is complete will a script be derived from it.
As for casting, Wenham’s one-eyed Dilios deserves a larger part in the second go-round, though there is no mention of the role on his IMDB page (though it is on Snyder’s). Additionally, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Lena Heady’s character, Queen Gorgo, but those are just the musings of the horny adolescent within. With all the slow-motion shots in that movie, it’s a shame we didn’t get more of her walking through the pillared halls of Sparta.
The risk in sequels is teetering on that fine line between producing and reproducing. A successful sequel takes all the old ingredients that made the first installment great and adds new additions that can hold the-incredible-shrinking-attention-span of modern audiences. Too much of the old runs the risk of over-doing it and poorly reproducing the precursor using the same old tricks (any of The Matrix follow-ups); or under doing it, and all you’ve got is a new movie with old characters - a potentially poor fit. So, to Hollywood: please, unless a sequel is justified by an unfinished story, or a surviving villain, get out while you’re on top.
Only time will tell for certain whether we see another 300. But if we do, Snyder assures us, “It's going to be the same way, but on crazier steroids."