"Rise of an Empire," the sequel to 2006's "300" was directed by newcomer Noam Murro.
The Israeli director said the new film is less of a sequel and more of a broader picture of the same battles that took place in "300."
"The idea of this movie was always that it takes place at about the same time of the first one," Murro said. "It's as if you zoomed out and saw a bigger time frame and told a bigger story of what happened in '300.'"
"This is a much larger palette, historically an geographically," Murro said. "It is larger in scale, and it takes place on the water."
Murro said the films seaborne location added some extra hurdles for making the film.
"The challenges are numerous in a sense that as technology develops, what happens is we shot this entire movie dry, meaning there was no water involved," he said.
"You are really in a situation that you have to create a sense that the boats are really moving and sense that they are really in water, but they're not."
For the follow-up to the visually distinct "300," Murro said he hewed close to the original film's comic-book hyperreality while still making the new movie feel fresh.
"I think the that was the great thing about working with Zack and working with the studio," he said. "The idea was always to create a point of reference of the old movie, but technologically and visually push it further up the hill."
"I think we've push it from a visual spectacle uphill, but the roots of this tree are grounded in the '300' world," he said. "We wanted to create different styles of battles, and there are very distinct ones in this movie. There's the fire battle and the fog battle."
"Rise of an Empire," is based on the Frank Miller graphic novel "Xerxes," and stars Rodrigo Santoro, reprises his role as the Persian king, along with hero Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and villain Artemisia (Eva Green).
"300: Rise of an Empire" is due out March 7, 2014.