Although we’ve already seen the first trailer for the much anticipated “300” sequel already, a lot of new footage and back story was revealed at the “300: Rise of an Empire” panel today in Hall H at SDCC. The panel opened director Noam Murro, alongside actors Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, and Rodrigo Santoro. We were told that the sequel was very difficult to film because of the CG naval scenes and that it centers around various flashbacks of Xerxes’ rise to power and Artemisia’s quest for vengeance.

The panel kicked off with an unveil of new footage, showing Xerxes standing in victory over the dead bodies of the 300 Spartans from the first movie. We are then taken to the death of Xerxes’ father King Darius, and Artemisia coerces a vulnerable Xerxes into seeking vengeance which kicks starts the war between Persia and the Greeks. It’s at this point where Xerxes is transformed into a “God.” The footage changes back to “modern” time and we see the ruthless Artemisia leading her troops into a very heavily stylized naval battle.

According to Director Murrow, they have finished shooting but it’s a work in progress as they’re putting the finishing touches on the CG effects. The film takes place at the same time as the events of “300” and will heavily feature the back story of Xerxes, as we see his reasoning and motivation to start a war with the Greeks.

“He had his reasons to do what he was doing. He was trying to do what his father was doing, conquer the world,” says Murrow.

Although the film is a continuation of Synder’s “300,” it will have it’s own style and feel.

“There is a DNA in the way it looks that makes you go, ‘Yes this is 300,’ but this is something completely different in the way it looks and feels.”

Overall, “300: Rise of an Empire” looks just about what I’d imagine a sequel to be. Expect carnage, action, and what will perhaps be the best fake navel battle scene on screen. Fans of the first, will absolutely love the sequel.

“300: Rise of an Empire” opens March 7, 2014.