With Zack Snyder now occupied until December 2012 with the Superman reboot there is a potential opening for another director to take over Xerxes, the prequel to 300 Snyder and Frank Miller have been working on for the past few years.
The last we heard Snyder confirmed that work on the Xerxes script had started, and while he hadn’t signed up to direct, he intended to. This was before he signed up to direct Superman though, and it seems Warner Bros. is still interested in moving forward as they have apparently offered the job to Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes).
According to Vulture the studio wants Snyder to focus on Superman as it needs to be in production by 2013 otherwise they loses the rights to the entire Superman franchise. The site also speculates that as Watchmen and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole under-performed the studio have less faith in Snyder (but if that was the case why give him the Superman job?).
I think it is most likely that Warner Bros. wants to continue developing Xerxes even though Snyder is busy, and Guy Ritchie is a solid replacement having provided the studio with a new franchise. While I was looking forward to another visual feast from Snyder I think Ritchie could handle the material quite well.
Last year Frank Miller revealed a few details on what Xerxes will involve, and who we can expect to show up:
The time frame begins 10 years before ‘300′ and the story starts with the Battle of Marathon” … “The lead character is Themistocles, who became warlord of Greece and built their navy. The story is very different than ‘300′ in that it involves Xerxes search for godhood. The existence of gods are presupposed in this story and the idea is that he is well on his way to godhood by the end of the story. With Themistocles I have a character who is almost the dead opposite of Leonidas in that Themistocles was a lying, conniving, brilliant, heroic figure. He was nicknamed ‘The Subtle Serpent’ and he always manages to do the exact right things that will result in him benefiting greatly.”