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First Look at 300: Rise of an Empire

300 rise of an empire Sullivan Stapleton After years of not really knowing what the 300 sequel was going to be about, we now have not only some solid details, courtesy of director Noam Murro, but also the first look at Sullivan Stapleton as Themistokles.

USA Today scored the 300: Rise of an Empire exclusive, and also helped to nail down some some information about the plot, which has been hard to come by.

The film was known as 300: The Battle of Artemisia for a while, and was originally thought to be based on Frank Miller’s upcoming Dark Horse miniseries Xerxes (itself a follow-up to his 1998 comic 300). Now we know that the film, which was written by 300 director Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad, takes place around the same time as the original, and sees Themistokles and his common-man soldiers facing off on the water against the Persian forces.

Murro said the film looks similar to the original, but it has “a whole different choreography of fighting and war,” thanks to the naval setting.

Eva Green plays Artemesia, the leader of the Persian navy and second-in-command to Rodrigo Santoro, who reprises his role as Xerxes. “She does most of Xerxes’ dirty work in this film,” Stapleton said. “She’s seeking revenge, and she does it well. She’s a force to be reckoned with.”

Speaking of forces to be reckoned with, the director has a very different hero this time around, compared to Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas. “Themistokles is battle-scarred and a warrior, but at the same time he’s a politician,” Murro said. “He’s not the king. He has to rule in a democracy. It’s a different complexity of character.”

The director also pointed out how different these soldiers are. “These people don’t want to fight, they even say that they are not Spartans,” Murro said. “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.”

300: Rise of an Empire which also stars Joel Edgerton, Jamie Blackley and Jack O’Connell, premieres Aug. 2.

300 rise of an empire


  • Razvigor

    I hope they make them all fight mostly in formations.
    300 dropped the ball there – yes, it looked cool, but Leonidas dissed the sifigured Ephialtes, saying that he can’t fight in their tight formation. But, when we see Spartans fighting, we mostly seen them slaying and slashing OUT of formation.

  • merwanor

    They did fight in formation when in a more defensive posture. Shield held high while pushing their enemies back. Ephialtes could probably not be in this formation because of his ability to not hold his shield that high up.

    But I get your point, the fights in the movie was more about style than tactics, but I think if they remove that style, then it will lack what made 300 so thrilling to watch. To this date, it has one of the best action scenes ever made.

  • Razvigor

    In the beggining of the battle? Yes.
    But as the film progressed on, they were fighting more and more out of formation, for example – Stelios and Astinos (Captain’s son) fighting back to back, the whole fight against the Immortals, and Leonidas’ little trip out of the phalanx (the legendary slow down – speed up scene). All of those fights were cool looking, but completelly pissed on the fact that Ephialtes was dissed for his inability to make a good phalanx-soldier, even though they were breaking the phalanx all the time… Which is made worse by the fact that Ephialtes betrayed them all because of it.

    But even then, I really enjoy the film – it is thrilling, it is stylish and quotable. It may not be historically accurate, but it’s so fun to watch!
    Even Zack Snyder (director) said that he added that kind of fighting just because it looks cool – and it succeeded in doing just that.

  • TheFran

    Eva Green… ’nuff said!

    Looking forward to this one!

  • me

    So you(vjetrovnjak) basically just said what he(merwanor) said. Just to have the last word? Just for arguments sake? Just because? Ok, just asking! Still a great movie, told a great story, and I am more than looking forward to the Aug. 2nd! Have a great day.

  • Vjetrovnjak

    Umm… What are you talking about?
    Read our posts again, I wrote nothing in my second comment, which Merwanor already mentioned.

    Merwanor said that the Spartans fought in a defensive phalanx formation, and that’s because Ephialtes wasn’t accepted in their ranks. He also noted that the fights are more about style, than historical accuracy, but it’s just a part of the whole fun.

    Contrary to Merwanor, I noted that Spartans were fighting in defensive phalanx formation only in the beggining of the film, while later, they became more and more cool-solo-style fighters, while also noting it undermines the WHOLE POINT of Leonidas’ refusal of Ephialtes.
    I ended my post noting that the director himself said that he chose that kind of fighting style because it looks cool.

    So, tell me, oh wise one, what are the similarities in our posts? Did I really commented only to have the last word, or to say something that HASN’T been said before?


  • canchito

    i hope i can manage to watch it ALL the way through this time

  • Taf Nick China

    I think you’re Ephialtes in disguise..just saying you are a bit cut by his rejection from the king

  • Keith Ranson

    You Misspelled THEMISTOCLES; There Is a ‘k’ where a ‘c’ Should be.

  • 29 of 300

    You dont have to fight the same formation all the time. but when necessary, everyone should be able to do it.

  • MornLandazar

    29 of 300
    In the films – you don’t have to fight in formations all the time.
    In real life (concerning the time period of 300 film) – you DID, and ABSOLUTELY DID have to fight in formations.
    Do you know what the battles (from 300 period) looked like?
    Let’s say that Spartans meet Athenians on the battlefield.
    300 vs 300. Both armies are in formations – shield wall, spears out, short swords beside you.
    The two armies CHARGE at each other and CLASH, and stab each other with spears, while defending with shields. When the spear shatters, they brandish their swords, but they STAY in formation. Whenever a warrior from the formation DIES, the one behind him quickly REPLACES him.
    And do you know when did those battles end?
    When one army BREAKS the FORMATION of the other army.
    Then, the broken army’s warriors run for their lives, because they have an unstoppable meat-grinder in front of themselves.

    That’s right – breaking the formation meant DEFEAT. It ALWAYS meant defeat.
    We’re not talking about medieval times (although formations were present there too), but in Antiquity, when you have a Phalanx formation, if you GO OUT from it, your WHOLE army is DOOMED.

  • Jonnyjuana

    anyone else notice how often this website makes spelling mistakes or actors names are spelled incorrectly?

  • Vikodlak

    We are not all grammar nazis.

  • Snakecharm

    Sorry…but what’s the point story wise? Its 300 because it took 300 Spartans to hinder the entire Persian army. What….300 women at the other end of the tunnel who transmits VD wiping out that army?….then again, i’ll pay good money to watch that.

  • Lily

    Really hated this movie. All the actions and scenes made me feel sick. It was so overdone. ugh… Not gonna watch that shit again. The story was about some gorillas going to was with some hairless serpents. But as I remember the persian ancient carvings, men in persia had actually big beards and long fine material clothings. So it doesn’t make sense enough to me to sit and watch the movie…

  • RD

    Cool….!!!! Now its time to wait for MEET THE SPARTANS 2 !!! :D

  • RastaBlaster

    Thats probably why the SPARTANS lost then.

  • jeff beazley

    They didn’t lose in the movie nor in history, wtf are you talking about?

  • meh

    Exactly. Glad someone said it.

  • meh

    Do YOU know what the battles looked like? lmfao. But no seriously, theres NO way for you to say with such absolute certainty that they “DID have to fight in formations” 100% of the time? Come on man. Thats just silly.

  • Derp

    They certainly did NOT always stay in phalanx formation or they would be easily destroyed by anyone that knew that formation. It’s just one of many battle formations and changing formation is certainly not the same as breaking it. In the context of the would be silly to assume they would maintain phalanx against the bomb throwing chicks as they would be slaughtered. The same for when the enemy breaks ranks and run. You separate from the group and take down stragglers, clear the field, etc, and then recover and regroup.

  • MornLandazar

    That’s just silly?
    Ok, here’s the deal – I don’t have an idea how the people in middle ages fought.
    I don’t have an idea how did the people fought in Napoleonic wars, WWI or WWII.
    Those periods of time are simply not that known to me, because they are not my area of expertise.

    But ancient Greek warfare IS my area of expertise.
    The battles in those time were fought that way – in FORMATIONS.
    The Persians DIDN’T fought like that, but the Greeks DID. Their whole weapon design was made for those battles.
    How do I know that?
    Well certainly NOT from films – I read books about those things.
    There are comic book nerds, Star Wars/Trek nerds an all other kinds of nerds – and I’m an ANCIENT GREEK WARFARE NERD.
    I read books from historians who know such things, and therefore, I know it too.

    The film is one thing – REALITY is another.

    The battles were never about STYLE – they were doing what it was best for them to survive and to beat the enemy – in those times, the best thing was a PHALANX formation.

    What, do you think (based on the film) that the Spartans fought without armor too?

  • MornLandazar

    And you forget that the phalanx wasn’t a defensive formation (like in the film), but OFFENSIVE, i.e. they would ATTACK, and not just hold ground and defend.

    And when the enemy breaks and runs, the army that stayed in the formation CONTINUES to pursuit the enemy IN FORMATION.
    They were very skilled and fast in doing so.

    There was certainly no things in real life, like Leonidas simply breaking from the group and going ”ninja” on the enemies.

  • basic core

    When I was a school kid back in the old country we had a
    certain picture of all the warriors, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, etc.and none of them ever came close to resemble the crap that this filmmaker is shoving down the throat of these pathetic audiences..twice!!. Again, over the top, over sweetened, redundant,
    boring, done before, totally unnecessary (let’s save “The Western Civilization” from the nasty Persians at any nonsense that would absolve us from any guilt feelings that might arise from a possible attack on Iran even today… by a series of gratuitous survival tactics and “man on man” connections that really did exist amongst the Spartans and of course more killings, etc. etc.). Again,.. this is yet another propaganda from Hollywood to downgrade an empire that possessed vast knowledge of the world(then), art, literature, poetry, sciences, laws., architecture, etc. just to satisfy an age old belief that
    anything east of Greece must have been ‘The Barbarians”, so lets knock ourselves out at their cost, why don’t we. Who cares about the history.

  • MornLandazar

    The irony is that the film-Spartans are reffering to film-Persians as slave-owners, while they concider Greek people free.
    In real life, it was exactly the opposite.

  • idiot

    You just basically rephrased what merwanor said. Don’t get your panties in a bundle please

  • Oxy Moron

    There is no ‘C’ in the Greek Alphabet.So Themistocles=Themistokles Hercules=Herakles and so on.

  • John W Hargis


  • John W Hargis

    She was one hell of a Morgan leFay

  • deth502
  • Lance

    Korabljenik is right with the exception that Spartans of the time were using a Hoplite Phalanx, which offers less tactical innovation while the Spartans in the movie seemed to be working more of a Macedonian Phalanx which is more tactically versatile and didn’t come about until the time of Alexander the Great and his father. Gerard Butlers Leonidas does state the basics of a Phalanx correctly though and outside of the initial engagement it’s not shown later in the film. Also from a historical perspective the Phalanx was the dominant tactical innovation in history until the advent of the Roman Legion.

  • PersianBoy

    I love how they just completely disregarded the fact that most Persian soldiers fought on cavalry and just decided to replace them all with slaves who were black, and apparently Xerxes was also black, despite persians being caucasian

  • spartan999

    There was never a battle in which 300 soldiers took on the persian army. 10,000 greeks took on the persians and towards the end of the battle approx 300 spartans remained with roughly an equal number of athenians. The athenians retreated due to lack of numbers and the spartans refused to leave the battle so they died where they stood

  • Korabljenik

    Slight correction – Thespians remained with the Spartans, not Athenians.
    Athenians fought the naval battle of Salamis, at the same time when the Thermopylae battle was fough.
    Also, around 700 Thespians, led by Demophilus, stayed to the end, alongside Spartans.

  • Blastaar

    @PersianBoy, During the migration of many people who had left Africa 1000’s of years ago and went further to the east, there still remained many generations of people who established “Black” civilizations “outside” of Africa towards the Middle East into Asia, to Polynesia all the way down to the Samoans, to New Zealand, Australia, Papa New Guinea, Guam and so on. Many of the Caucasian Middle Easterners came much later from the north and mixed in with those who were already there, that’s why there are still some Black Persians, Iraqi’s, other Middle Easterners and Asians still there, however in some places much more than others. Blacks began to be mixed out but the some appeared again during the slave trade in the Middle East.

    So Black Persians is correct as well as White Persians but the majority is a mix in between especially now but it depends on what area they come from as most would usually come from or be more concentrated in a particular demographic area.

  • Rishi Joe Sanu

    You’ll never be as cool as Spartacus : War of the Damned

  • Captain Kal

    Another slight correction. The battle of Artemisium, was fought at the same time as Thermopylae.

  • Korabljenik

    Ah, my bad – Salamis was fought a bit later… :-P

  • Jae

    Well, this is sucking right out the gate. I have no desire to see this movie.