These questions originally appeared on Quora.
Answers by Noam Murro, Director, 300: Rise of An Empire
Q: What is it like to take over the helm of a successful movie franchise?
A: Well, it's a challenging and complicated endeavor. You have to have enough roots connected to the old film, but you also have to create something that is completely new and pushes the story forward. So, I think it's a daunting challenge from that perspective. The goal is to do something that audiences haven't seen before but at the same time hearkens back to something that is familiar to the fans of the franchise. 300 was such a seminal movie that I really had to be respectful of it.
There were several things I was able to do with this movie, in order to make it my own. From a thematic point of view, there is the addition of two very strong female characters, which the first film didn't have. Also, I think Themistocles (the Athenian general and politician who orchestrated the battle plans at the Battle of Salamis and the Battle of Artemisia) is a completely different animal than Leonidas (King of Sparta from 300). There is also a different visual aesthetic since this film takes place completely on water. So there were various challenges thematically and visually that the first movie did not have.
A: The entire movie is really different stylistically. There's the aspect that the entire film takes place on water and the theme of strong, central, female characters. Also 300 was zoomed in on a very specific battle. With this movie, we tackle a much bigger geographical issue than what was portrayed in the first movie. There are many different things at play in this movie that helped in extending the franchise.