Ever since we first heard that Frank Miller was working on a 300 sequel, an immediate question arose: Would Zack Snyder be adapting it as a movie? After Snyder confirmed that he was definitely interested in the project, the question then became: When the hell is Frank Miller gonna get this thing done?

It’s taken three years, but Xerxes has officially started its development from graphic novel to film. Despite the book not yet having a release date (it should be available in the next few months), Zack Snyder has already started writing the screenplay for the film adaptation, along with his 300 collaborator Kurt Johnstad. Learn more about the project after the break.

Snyder told the LA Times:

We closed the writing deal on Xerxes. We started writing about a week ago. So we’re doing it. It’s happening.

As for whether or not he’d be directing the film, he had this to say:

It’s really going to depend on what the studio wants to do and what we do when we finish; I don’t have a directing deal in place but we are writing it, so call it intent.

That intent, it seems, extends also to the look of the film, which he describes as being in “the same universe visually”. I don’t know much desire I have for another round of the same bloody cartoon stylings that Snyder offered on 300, but it makes sense that he’d maintain the consistency of the series.

Snyder did make an assurance, however, that the film wouldn’t just be more of the same. Whereas 300 was about getting “a chance to fight alongside a super warrior”, Xerxes is “much more about the everyman”. But of course, there’s still plenty of the expected Frank Miller carnage.

Snyder described one of the climactic battles:

The triremes all crash together, and as they all ram in you have basic hoplite combat. But it’s all on the deck on these crashing ships — there’s even horses riding across them. How cool is that?

OK, fine, you’re right. That is pretty cool.

Previously:

Miller tells the Los Angeles Times that the story of Xerxes is a larger, more expansive, more complex story than 300:

“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,” Miller told the . “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.”

More about the story and the characters:

“The time frame begins 10 years before ‘300? and 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.”

The book will also see appearances from two other characters from 300, including Ephialtes, the Spartan traitor and “a brief appearance” by Leonidis (who was played by Gerard Butler in the movie adaptation).

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