Zack Snyder has revealed that there was actually a culminating installment he wrote to conclude the storyline he started with the film 300. The 2006 film was a career-establishing film for the director Zack Snyder, in which it was only his second time at the helm. Based on Frank Miller’s comic book series of the same name, 300 was a fantastical take on the Battle of Thermopylae within the Persian Wars. The film received a mixed reception, but was a commercial hit and gained massive popularity among the audience. Zack Snyder later went on and directed Watchmen and started the DC Extended Universe with Man of Steel.
In 2014, Zack Snyder wrote a follow-up to 300, titled 300: Rise of an Empire, which served as a side-sequel to its predecessor. Zack served as the film’s producer with Noam Murro taking on directorial duties. But, both these films ended with a non-conclusive ending. Turns out, Zack had something in mind for the three-quel which never resulted in anything at Warner Bros.
In an interview with the podcast, The Fourth Wall, Snyder has revealed, that he wrote the third film to go with the stories the previous two films have drawn parallels from; however, he ended up writing a different film, which didn’t appease the execs at Warner Bros. Snyder revealed the third film he wrote ended up being about the relationship between conqueror Alexander and his partner Hephaestion (a plot explored in Oliver Stone’s Alexander).
“I just couldn’t really get my teeth into it. Over the pandemic, I had a deal with Warner Brothers and I wrote what was essentially going to be the final chapter in 300. But when I sat down to write it I actually wrote a different movie. I was writing this thing about Alexander the Great, and it just turned into a movie about the relationship between Hephaestion and Alexander. It turned out to be a love story. So it really didn’t fit in as the third movie.”
The first two films delved into the Persian Wars with some fictionalized tales and events embedded into it and were based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel. The two films set up villain Xerxes and told a reiteration of two great Greek warriors, who lived in the same era and participated in Persian Wars in some capacity. However, Alexander’s story speaks of an entirely different era, at least a century apart, which could’ve created continuity issues to keep it as part of the trilogy. And maybe that’s why Warner Bros. refused to go ahead with it. However, still defending his idea and taking a dig at his creative clash with the executives at Warner Bros., Zack Snyder added,
“[It] came out really great; it’s a beautiful love story, really, with warfare. I would love to do it, [WB] said no… you know, they’re not huge fans of mine. It is what it is.”
Zack also told the podcast that he had tentatively titled the film 300: Blood and Ashes. Zack’s concept seems good, but Warner Bros.’s argument, if is the same, doesn’t seem invalid. It’s true Zack could still have played out some interconnection to establish it as a conclusion to 300 trilogy; however, it’s tough to get two stories set so far apart in real timelines. On the other hand, Zack’s dig at WB’s clash with him also makes sense. His dispute with the studio is a story in itself and everyone’s aware of his troubles with the studio during the production of Justice League.
He recently said that how Warner Bros. has grown “Anti-Snyder” over the past few years and how his ideas for DCEU are being sidelined since his departure from the original production of Justice League. He said even developing his own version of the film after it was green-lit was a troublesome experience where he felt like being tortured. Probably that’s why even Snyder is shifting himself from the studio and the studio is backing off on him for his open protest against their creative calls. And Netflix has got the best out of this non-sparking conflict between a director and a studio.
Currently, Zack is awaiting the release of his next venture, Army of the Dead, which Netflix has decided to spawn into a franchise, through a prequel, Army of Thieves, and an animated series, tilted, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas; both of which would be produced by Zack Snyder. Looks the way that unlike DC and Warner Bros., Netflix won’t let go of Snyder and his crazy ideas that easily.
Zack Snyder’s final (as of yet) DCEU film as a director, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming on HBO Max, while Army of the Dead will release May 21 on Netflix. This news originated at The Fourth Wall podcast.