300: Rise of an Empire returns us to the place that helped popularize director Zack Snyder into someone who could be trusted with tentpole releases like The Man of Steel. Despite the almost eight-year gap between the first installment and next year's sequel, which is surprising when you consider how quickly Hollywood moves on its popular titles, the initial release generated enough fond memories to successfully turn the hype machine back on for the new trailer. Posted almost 24 hours ago by Warner Brothers, the first look at 300: Rise of an Empire has already amassed close to 700,000 views with 11,000 likes, compared to just 281 dislikes.
When you further consider Gerard Butler's King Leonidas does not return in Rise of an Empire, and the fact there are no big-name action stars attached, the warm reception is, perhaps, even more surprising. It should be noted that the "no action stars" was, in no way, an offense to the two actresses who have, at the moment, top billing in the upcoming movie (at least on IMDB): Lena Headey and Eva Green.
Other returning characters, aside from Headey's Queen Gorgo, include David Wenham's Dilios--the "narrator" who was telling Leonidas' story to the remaining Spartans at the end of the first film--and, of course, Rodrigo Santoro's Xerxes, who looks like he is enjoying himself a great deal as the movie's bad guy. For those uncertain of where the sequel will pick up, Warner Brothers provides the following description:
Based on Frank Miller's latest graphic novel Xerxes, and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster "300," this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea—as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war.
"300: Rise of an Empire" pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.
Playing the role of
Gerard Butler Themistokles is Sullivan Stapleton, an Australian actor who is probably best known for his roles Gangster Squad, The Hunter, and in the Strike Back series. It should be noted that Butler was something of an unknown before his role in 300 blew him up to "star" status.
Can the 300 franchise do the same for Stapleton?
Over at the movie's Facebook page, they also released the first poster from the 2014 release (which means don't get your hopes up until December, at the earliest):