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First low res stills from 300: Rise of an Empire feature star Sullivan Stapleton and seafaring warriors

Apr. 8, 2013by: Paul Shirey

It's always a little strange to me when "exclusive images" are debuted at the resolution I'd expect on my old Acer computer from 1998, but whatever. You roll with what you get. USA Today has dropped a first look at a few images from 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, the follow-up to Zack Snyder's uber-successful 300, which was based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. Obviously, they couldn't continue with the original cast as they were all killed (spoiler!), but they've had no trouble continuing the story, which is more of a "parallel" film rather than a straight sequel, taking place around the same timeframe as the original.

This time out "Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his common-man troops fight the rest of the Persian army at sea," which "is tied visually to the original," but "there is a whole different choreography of fighting and war,'' says director Noam Murro (uh, SMART PEOPLE?). 

The para-sequel focuses primarily on the sea battle that took place about the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae, with the chief villain being Artemesia, played by Eva Green, who is said to be a vengeful commander of the Persian navy, answering only to Xerxes, the leader of the Persian army (and once again played by Rodrigo Santoro).

"She does most of Xerxes' dirty work in this film. She's seeking revenge, and she does it well. She's a force to be reckoned with." says Stapleton.

Murro agrees, saying:

"She's got sex appeal, she's ruthless and conniving. All the things that kill men. And she has a sword. I wouldn't mess with her."

Zack Snyder co-wrote the screenplay to the sequel and worked to alter the themes, while staying true to their spirit. Stapleton (star of Showtime's Strikeback) isn't exactly a mirror image of Gerard Butler's Leonidas, according to Murro:

"Themistokles is battle-scarred and a warrior, but at the same time he's a politician. He's not the king. He has to rule in a democracy. It's a different complexity of character."

The warriors, too, are a different breed, says Murro:

"These people don't want to fight, they even say that they are not Spartans," says Murro. "They are common people who have to do this to not be in under the rule of a dictator. This is not a duplicate movie or a cookie-cutter. It's a very different story to tell in keeping with the original flavor of 300."

The lack of Snyder and Butler make this one a tough sell for me.  Mostly becaue it feels like they're trying to squeeze blood out of an orange. I'd prefer to leave 300 as the red-blooded classic it is. However, I'll save my final judgment for a trailer (which I'd expect to drop very soon). I can easily be swayed if the goods look like they'll deliver, however. It's still early.

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE starts dining in Hell on August 2, 2013.

Extra Tidbit: What do you think? Are you game for this, vehemently against it, or on the fence?
Source: USA Today

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9:55PM on 04/08/2013
First time ive heard 300 referred to as a classic...eh.
First time ive heard 300 referred to as a classic...eh.
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9:32AM on 04/09/2013
It's the Top Gun of our Generation (Millennials)
It's the Top Gun of our Generation (Millennials)
9:58PM on 04/08/2013
This seems a little Direct-to-DVDy, doesn't it?
This seems a little Direct-to-DVDy, doesn't it?
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10:02PM on 04/08/2013
I honestly don't know anyone excited about this, and I forgot this was being made. It seems like one of those direct-to-video sequels/prequels that barely relate to the original film. That trailer is going to have to be pretty impressive to get me interested.
I honestly don't know anyone excited about this, and I forgot this was being made. It seems like one of those direct-to-video sequels/prequels that barely relate to the original film. That trailer is going to have to be pretty impressive to get me interested.
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10:04PM on 04/08/2013

Shit on it all you want

Just like fast and furious. This is a very successfull franchise and while not historically acurate js defintely ALOT of fun. While I dont think a sequel was needed I am definitely looking forward to this. ALOT of people liked it including the people who now shit on it because time has passed and they can see its "flaws". It has also paved the way for awesome shows such as Spartacus.
Just like fast and furious. This is a very successfull franchise and while not historically acurate js defintely ALOT of fun. While I dont think a sequel was needed I am definitely looking forward to this. ALOT of people liked it including the people who now shit on it because time has passed and they can see its "flaws". It has also paved the way for awesome shows such as Spartacus.
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10:16PM on 04/08/2013
Eva Green as an evil sexy bitch?
[link]
Eva Green as an evil sexy bitch?
[link]
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10:45PM on 04/08/2013
Didn't Miller write a sequel to 300 called, and focusing on, Xerxes?

I guess the studio decided to go with an original idea? I like Snyder as a director but not so much as a writer (Sucker Punch was terrible) so I can't say I'm too pumped for this. And like someone else said, this looks like it should be going direct to DVD.
Didn't Miller write a sequel to 300 called, and focusing on, Xerxes?

I guess the studio decided to go with an original idea? I like Snyder as a director but not so much as a writer (Sucker Punch was terrible) so I can't say I'm too pumped for this. And like someone else said, this looks like it should be going direct to DVD.
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11:02PM on 04/08/2013

Eh, why not?

I'm a huge fan of Strike Back so I'll root for Sully on this one...
I'm a huge fan of Strike Back so I'll root for Sully on this one...
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1:02AM on 04/09/2013
I keep forgetting this movie exists.
I keep forgetting this movie exists.
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8:14AM on 04/09/2013
The film-makers engage in a lot of double-talk. Doublespeak is not always a good sign of things. Read the article. How often does someone say "Weeeeell, Rise of an Empire is 300, but it's not 300." I hope that this film isn't some committee chimera. I hope that it does not just exploit 300's good name to squeeze out another story unnecessarily (as you fear, Paul).
However, I like the original 300, so a sequel is welcome. Furthermore, the first movie did Greek legend much better than the recent
The film-makers engage in a lot of double-talk. Doublespeak is not always a good sign of things. Read the article. How often does someone say "Weeeeell, Rise of an Empire is 300, but it's not 300." I hope that this film isn't some committee chimera. I hope that it does not just exploit 300's good name to squeeze out another story unnecessarily (as you fear, Paul).
However, I like the original 300, so a sequel is welcome. Furthermore, the first movie did Greek legend much better than the recent Clash of the Titans franchise. Those two movies were style with a modicum of substance. Meanwhile, 300 had some substance to it. Furthermore, Snyder is almost always an outstanding film-maker. And, Rise of an Empire arrives in summer, when films can be more fun than erudite. Therefore, for now, I'm hip to seeing 300: Rise of an Empire (that is sort of striking back in the second film of the franchise).
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8:42AM on 04/09/2013
It really seems like they're just trying to duplicate what Snyder and his team did on the first movie. While you can take pretty pictures and talk up the project, if the script and direction isnt there, this will fall well short on what made 300 such a good movie. I'm hoping this turns out to be good because I love Greek history and felt the first movie did the story justice, even if some parts weren't true to the historical events. Let's try to stay positive on this project, as hard as it may
It really seems like they're just trying to duplicate what Snyder and his team did on the first movie. While you can take pretty pictures and talk up the project, if the script and direction isnt there, this will fall well short on what made 300 such a good movie. I'm hoping this turns out to be good because I love Greek history and felt the first movie did the story justice, even if some parts weren't true to the historical events. Let's try to stay positive on this project, as hard as it may seem.
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12:43PM on 04/09/2013

I'd be far more interested....

if instead of these, there's a still of Eva Green as the sexy ruthless villain.
if instead of these, there's a still of Eva Green as the sexy ruthless villain.
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