300: Rise of an Empire, A new trailer for “300: Rise of an Empire” offers the same sort of swords-and-sandals splendor that made filmmaker Zack Snyder’s visually arresting 2006 adaptation of the landmark Frank Miller graphic novel such a hit.
“Rise of an Empire” is not a sequel or a prequel but its own free-standing thing, taking place before, during and after the events of “300.” Directed by TV commercial ace Noam Murro and produced by Snyder, the film sees Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro reprise his role as Xerxes, the nefarious 9-foot-tall antagonist.
“The movie looks cool. It’s beautiful,” Santoro told Hero Complex in an interview this year. “It’s like ’300′ but there are fresh things in there. It’s a smart way to do a sequel. The fans are going to be pleased.”
More of the Persian “God King’s” back story will be revealed in the film, but a new villain — Eva Green’s Artemisia I of Caria — will take the spotlight, along with new protagonist Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton). “Game of Thrones” star Lena Headey is reprising her role as Queen Gorgo. It is her voice that offers the trailer’s beginning narration.
“It begins as whisper,” she says. “A promise. The lightest of breezes dances above the death cries of 300 men. That breeze became a wind. A wind, my brothers, of sacrifice. A wind of freedom. A wind of justice. A wind of vengeance.”
The story is based on Miller’s “Xerxes” and the historical Battle of Artemisium, a naval engagement concurrent with “300′s” battle at Thermopylae. As a result, much of the film’s action takes place at sea. Check it out in the trailer below.
Producer Snyder, of course, is the director of this weekend’s “Man of Steel,” the Superman reboot, which looks to be his first major hit since “300.” In between came “Watchmen,” “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” and “Sucker Punch.”
“300″ was a box-office hit, despite controversy surrounding the portrayal of Xerxes and his Persian army as an effete villain and a savage horde; the Iranian Academy of the Arts filed a formal complaint through the United Nations, denouncing the film’s take on Iran’s history.
“Empire” is slated to hit theaters March 7. Click through the gallery above for scenes from the first “300.”