300 was a success that went beyond the expectations of everyone involved in the film, and plans for a sequel were very quickly put into motion. Before anything could happen Frank Miller had to get the sequel going as a graphic novel, and from that director Zack Snyder started working on a script. Despite the fact that he’s now working intensely to make Superman: The Man of Steel, Mr. Snyder has finished and submitted the script for what was until recently called Xerxes.
The film is slowly moving forward, even with Zack Snyder focusing most of his time on Superman. Producer Mark Canton offers a status report, including the fact that the film is currently without a name.
MTV talked to Mr. Canton at WonderCon, and he said “It’s not called Xerxes anymore. We don’t know [what it's called] yet.” Asked why the previous title was ditched, Mark Canton kind of jokes that the film will be ‘Xerxes Plus,’ but doesn’t offer any further comment. He does say of the recently submitted script,
It’s been worth the wait. You know, that group of people [who worked on '300'], we’re really a family. That’s part of what made that movie so gratifying. Rather than doing the bad sequel, Zack led the way, we took our time. And now I think we have something that is going to be fantastic.
The producer seems to refute recent reports that Zack Snyder was being pushed away from the film by saying that, with respect to having a new director, “Soon we’ll know what we’re doing. But I don’t see us waiting two years to make the movie and Zack is very much at the helm of it at the same time.” In other words, Zack Snyder is making Superman but hasn’t abandoned or been pushed away from this film, which needs to move forward sooner than Superman will allow.
“Yeah. I think that’s one of the things is you have to be faithful,” he said. “Anything less will not satisfy us or the audience. It ain’t gonna happen.”
The film will have the Battle of Marathon as a kickoff, but filtered through the same sort of sensibility that was seen in 300. Frank Miller previously explained the basics of the story:
The story will be the same heft as ‘300? but it cover a much, much greater span of time — it’s 10 years, not three days… 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 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. The new tale climaxes with a massive naval confrontation that is so dense that it is fought like a land war and it ends on the same day as the events of 300.
…the story starts with the Battle of Marathon” … “The lead character is Themistocles, who became warlord of Greece and built their navy. The story is very different than ‘300? in that it involves Xerxes search for godhood. The existence of gods are presupposed in this story and the idea is that he well on his way to godhood by the end of the story. With Themistocles I have a character who is almost the dead opposite of Leonidas in that Themistocles was a lying, conniving, brilliant, heroic figure. He was nicknamed ‘The Subtle Serpent’ and he always manages to do the exact right things that will result in him benefiting greatly.”