It has been five years since the last Planet of the Apes entry, and now, we are one step closer to the next installment in the reboot trilogy that started with Rupert Wyatt’s re-imagining Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), which sees highly intelligent primate Caesar (Andy Serkis) lead a revolt against humans in San Francisco.
The story continues with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), which takes place several years later, after humanity has been devastated by the “Simian Flu”. The trilogy concludes with War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), the epic culmination that pits Caesar and his fellow apes against a bastion of human survivors at a military outpost.
Collectively, the three films, each of which received glowing reviews from audiences and critics, grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide. So after inheriting the franchise through the Fox acquisition, it’s fair to say that Disney was never going to ignore such a huge success. And three years ago, they announced that a fourth film was already in development.
Now, Deadline has reported that Planet of the Apes 4 (TBA) — officially titled The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, which was confirmed back in June — has announced its lead cast member and the character they will be playing. Caesar, played by motion-capture legend Andy Serkis, was the lead protagonist in the Apes Trilogy, but now, another ape is set to take the lead.
Caesar’s surviving son Cornelius will be the lead character in The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, and will be played by It (2017) and It Chapter 2 (2019) actor Owen Teague, presumably in motion capture performance. Cornelius is a character from the original Planet of the Apes film franchise, although in those films he ends up having a son called Caesar.
Wes Ball is writing and directing the new movie, taking over from Matt Reeves, who directed the last two entries in the franchise but has since moved on to The Batman (2022) and its upcoming sequel. In an interview with Discussing Film in 2020, Ball talked about the upcoming sequel, and reassured fans who might be concerned that Disney will ruin the Apes reboot series:
“We have a take. We have a way of staying in the universe that was created before us, but we’re also opening ourselves up in being able to do some really cool new stuff. Again, I’m trying to be careful here. I’ll say this, for fans of the original three, don’t worry — you’re in good hands. The original writers and producers that came up with Rise and Dawn, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, they’re also on board with this. Josh Friedman is writing this thing, a lot of the same crew is kind of involved. We will feel like we’re part of that original trilogy, but at the same time we’re able to do some really cool new stuff. It will be really exciting to see on the biggest screen possible.”
Plot details are not known at this time, but based on where War for the Planet of the Apes ends — with apes being the dominant species on Earth after the Simian Flu has wiped out nearly all humans, it’s possible the story will serve as a reboot to the original 1968 film Planet of the Apes (1968), which was based on the French novel by Pierre Boulle.
The film spawned a number of its own sequels, animated shows, live-action shows, and graphic novels, and was even rebooted by Tim Burton in 2001, which was panned by audiences and critics. Now, it’s fair to say that Apes is back on the map, and recently, Marvel Entertainment confirmed that it will be releasing a new wave of Planet of the Apes comic books.
The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will be the tenth movie in the Planet of the Apes film franchise. A release date is not known at this time, but production is expected to begin by the end of the year.
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