Zack Snyder and Warner Bros had an undeniable hit when they adapted Frank Miller’s 300, plain and simple. The project that partnered studio and filmmaker was so mythic, it not only spawned a sequel with 300: Rise of an Empire, it apparently almost got one final entry from Snyder himself. Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing that movie anytime soon, because when the Army of the Dead co-writer/director tried to write a 300 sequel, he ended up penning a gay love story featuring Alexander the Great; which Warner Bros wants no part of.
Though there was the entire debacle over Justice League and the planned Snyderverse, Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. both seemed excited about another sequel to the 300 franchise. With 300: Rise of an Empire seeming to be quite successful, at least on paper, who could blame the collaborators for wanting one last battle for glory? But as The Playlist recently sat down with the director, in honor of his new film Army of the Dead, Snyder spun this story of how and why that concept just didn’t pan out:
Over the pandemic, I had a deal with Warner Bros. 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.
Now, to be perfectly honest, there are two reasons that stand out as to why this would-be 300 sequel wasn't picked up by Warner Bros. The first being the obvious fact that this Alexander the Great movie wasn’t the sequel that Zack Snyder was intending to write. While a love story between Alexander the Great and beloved friend and confidant Hephaestion does sound rather interesting, it doesn’t fit the assignment that was pitched. So the rejection of this concept doesn't feel like it lies in any sort of malice, it just doesn't map up to the 300 follow-up that Warner Bros. was probably expecting.
But then there’s the other elephant in the room in the fact that the last time Warner Bros dared to make a movie in this wheelhouse, it was Oliver Stone’s mythic bomb Alexander. Starring Colin Farrell as Alexander, and Jared Leto as Hephaestion, the movie that did, to a certain extent, address the relationship that Zack Snyder wanted to tackle. However, Stone's version of events was a huge failure that lost millions at the box office, and would go on to have three alternate cuts on home video. So you can see where Warner Bros. would be just a bit gun shy about repeating history with a similar-sounding project.
Still, it’s hard to ignore how awesome this concept, born out of a 300 franchise capstone we’ll never see, maybe/possibly/could have been. It also doesn’t help that Zack Snyder is having fun with talking it up a little more, as he even revealed the film’s title, and it sounds as cool as you’d think. Here’s the last word on Snyder’s Blood and Ashes:
But there was that concept, and it came out really great. It’s called Blood and Ashes, and 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.
After watching Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the command of such an epic story in the writer/director’s hands could have been just what the historical movie genre called for. But Blood and Ashes, not matter how epic it sounds, doesn't match up with the expectations of a 300 sequel, and ultimately Warner Bros. ended up passing on the project. Still, much like it did with Army of the Dead, there's always the outside chance that Netflix or another streamer one day could turn this pitch around (maybe possibly/could) and get this project moving. For now, we'll just have to wait and see how Zack Snyder's latest does upon its current theatrical release, as well as its streaming debut, set to take place this Friday.