As 2014 draws to a close, it’s time to look back upon all of the great movies that came out this year. One that’s sure to crop up on a lot of Top 10 lists is Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a gripping war movie that concluded with the set-up for an even bigger war movie in Planet of the Apes 3. Though the third chapter in the prequel series won’t arrive in theaters until summer 2016, director Matt Reeves is already hard at work on the story with screenwriter Mark Bomback.
Although ten years passed between Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar’s community of intelligent apes is still in the early stages of becoming a society. Most of the apes can only speak using sign language; reading and writing are still in their infancy; and, until their collision with the human colony of San Francisco, the apes were still hunting using spears instead of guns.
Sooner or later the prequels’ timeline will catch up to 1968’s Planet of the Apes, which starred Charlton Heston as an astronaut who lands on a strange planet populated by intelligent apes (spoilers: it’s Earth). Heston’s character, George Taylor, was slyly introduced in Rise of the Planet of the Apes during a newscast that mentioned a manned mission to Mars.
Actor Andy Serkis recently said that the movies aren’t necessarily just a trilogy, which opens up the possibility of them carrying on for long enough to come full circle. However, in a recent interview with JoBlo Reeves said that he would never want to remake the original.
“To me the idea is that the 1968 films stands as trajectory… There is a huge distance to cover between here and there that is all about Caesar and future generations, and how this world has transformed into that world, and the struggle that they’ll have to go through and how we create the world that we know from that. I think once you’ve gone through all of those chapters… you could very well find yourself going into that story again, but I think it would be from a new perspective.
“The idea would never be to remake the ’68 film. There might be some of those events from another perspective, and obviously to also see them as events that grew out of everything that we’ve been watching from this new iteration. They wouldn’t be exactly the same either. So if, and when, we ever get there, which I think is an exciting notion, it would definitely not be a remake but it would be sort of a re-telling.”
Reeves has previously said that Caesar will eventually become a kind of ape Moses, attaining a mythic status to the generations of apes that come after him. Before that can happen, however, Caesar first needs to lead the apes to victory in a war against the same species that raised him and gave him intelligence. It’s easy to imagine why Caesar would be conflicted about going to war with humans when his own “father” – Will Rodman – was a human.
“[Caesar] is going to be thrust into circumstances that he never, ever wanted to deal with, and was hoping he could avoid. And now he is right in the middle of it. The things that happen in that story test him in huge ways, in the ways in which his relationship with Koba haunts him deeply…. The second movie was about having to rise to the challenge of being a great leader in the most difficult of times. This is going to be the story that is going to cement his status as a seminal figure in ape history.”
If Reeves really does plan to have movies covering several generations after Caesar, it’s probably going to be a very long time before anything resembling a retelling of the original Planet of the Apes actually reached theaters. It’s possible that the franchise will survive for that long (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes grossed over $700 million at the worldwide box office), but for now it’s probably best to just look forward to the impending ape-human war.
Planet of the Apes 3 arrives in theaters on July 29th, 2016.
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