Back toward the end of February, our own Elisabeth Rappe mused over whether or not audiences were growing tired with the Greeks. Sure, 300 dominated the box office and pop culture, but Clash of the Titans and Percy Jackson both failed to grab onto those two same strongholds. That didn't appear to put the brakes on Tarsem Singh's name-changing Greek epic, however, as Immortals continues to move ahead despite indications audiences are growing weary of swords and sandals. Even Prince of Persia failed to storm the US box office and it didn't even have any Greeks in it.
And now that we have further details on Xerxes, Frank Miller's graphic novel prequel to 300, I'm even more dubious that audiences will be clamoring for another swords and sandals epic that's as much about ancient Greeks as it is about Persians. I know 300 was box office adrenaline, but I fear that fad has died out and not even Frank Miller can resurrect it. He's certainly going to try his damndest, though. The LA Times has a big piece profiling the artist's plans for Xerxes, as well as the first image from the graphic novel, and it's almost as though they're in direct defiance of what fans seemingly want.
One would expect a 300 prequel to feature the characters that the first film made so iconic, but Xerxes is not about King Leonidas (though he does have a cameo) rather its focus is the titular Persian DemiGod's pursuit of total Godhood and the Greek warlord, Themistocles, who stands in his way. It'll feature huge naval battles and a story that spans years instead of days, all of which will culminate on the day 300 begins. From the LA Times:
"The story will be the same heft as '300' but it cover a much, much greater span of time -- it's 10 years, not three days," Miller said. "This is a more complex story. The story is so much larger. The Spartans in '300' were being enclosed by the page as the world got smaller. This story has truly vast subjects. The Athenian naval fleet, for instance, is a massive artistic undertaking and it dwarfed by the Persian fleet, which is also shown in this story. The story has elements of espionage, too, and it's a sweeping tale with gods and warriors."
Legendary Pictures/Warner Brothers have yet to give the project a greenlight, but the LA Times make it clear that if the story is strong enough, they would love to make it as a film; even 300 director Zack Snyder appears interested to return to the helm. However interested they are, though, I think their reluctance to jump blindly into the project is a sign that even they doubt their ability to make another half billion dollars off of yet another Greek epic. Or maybe they just watched Frank Miller's The Spirit and thought the artist of many hats had lost his mind. Either way, if the graphic novel sells well when it's released next year by Dark Horse Comics, one can probably expect to see a film adaptation get the go ahead not long after.