Conversations for Cause: 300 – On-Demand


Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

The panels of fantasticalness continue at Nerd HQ with 300: Rise of an Empire. If you’ll remember, the Persians defeated the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, and now the Athenian navy stands in the way of their conquest of Greece, led by the naval genius, Themistocles. It looks to feature the same visually stunning style of the original and is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, Xerxes.

Hosted by guest, Alan Tudyk, the panel featured Sullivan Stapleton who plays the Greek naval commander Themistocles, Eva Green who plays Artemisia, the leader of the Persian navy, and Rodrigo Santoro, the quasi-divine Xerxes himself. All three are fairly new to the Con scene, but were engaging and eager to interact with fans’ questions.

Though, as with most panels, no spoilers were given, we did get a very good sense of the tone and scope of the film. All three actors talked about the ins and outs of working primarily with green screen rather than other actors. Santoro (Xerxes) told a story about how he and Green (Artemisia) really didn’t interact with one another in filming the various scenes, though their characters are on screen at the same time. They delivered their lines to a tennis ball. Sounds confusing, I know, but the meshing of real actors and CGI is a complex one. This crew should be able to pull it off nicely, however.

The CGI mood and style, along with the return of Santoro as Xerxes, seem to be the only thing this film has in common with the original, however. 300 Rise of an Empire doesn’t seem to be a true sequel. Neither is it a prequel. It’s a look at different characters during the same time frame (the time frame of Miller’s “Xerxes” graphic novel, not actual history), in the same story. There were hints that we will find out how Xerxes becomes a demigod, along with insight into the tension and respect between bitter enemies, Artemisia and Themistocles.

There still isn’t a lot of information about the new 300 Rise of an Empire, though a new trailer should hit any day now. Regardless, I’ve got a feeling that if you liked the look, feel, and storytelling of the original, you will want to see this addition to the series.

More panel wrap-ups to come. Stay tuned.

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