The follow-up to director Zack Snyder’s ground-breaking “300″ has been in title limbo pretty much since its inception. Originally called “Xerxes,” suggesting a heavy emphasis on the Persian king played in the first film by “Lost” actor Rodrigo Santoro, the “300″ sequel eventually went by the name “Battle of Artemesia,” referring to a new character played by former Bond girl Eva Green.
Now, the film has landed upon yet another new, presumably final title: “300: Rise of an Empire.” It’s a clearer title to be sure, one that seemingly refers to Xerxes’ war effort to spread his influence in Sparta, Athens and beyond. We’ll certainly find out more as the weeks and months progress, as the movie is slated to come out next year.
In addition to Santoro and Green, “300: Rise of an Empire” features Sullivan Stapleton in the starring role of Athenian general Themistocles. There’s no room in this one for Gerard Butler, however. His King Leonidas dies a glorious death at the end of “300,” though there was much speculation that he would reprise his role for a cameo of sorts in “Rise of an Empire.” Not so anymore, as Butler recently confirmed to MTV News that it’s not going to happen.
“Oh yeah, I’m not doing it,” he said. “They’re filming [the '300' sequel] right now. I wish them the best, but it didn’t [work out]. It wasn’t really my thing.”
Directed by Noam Murro, “300: Rise of an Empire” hits theaters on August 2, 2013.