After successfully rebooting the Planet of the Apes franchise with 2011's surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fox upped the ante even more this past summer when the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes became one of the brightest spots of the season. Further advancing the remarkable motion-capture effects from the first installment and expanding upon the themes of Rise, director Matt Reeves delivered one of the best followups in recent memory in many people's eyes (read our review).
Given the enthusiastic response for Dawn, anticipation will be even higher when Planet of the Apes 3 rolls around in 2016. Fox announced that Reeves would be returning to the director's chair before Dawn even hit theaters, a move that should help the third entry live up to its promise on paper. But what might that entail? Fan-favorite Andy Serkis, who plays protagonist Caesar, may have some ideas.
While promoting the upcoming Blu-ray release of Dawn, Serkis talked about the next film's progress with MTV UK (watch the interview above) and provided an update on the script's development:
"To be honest, it's very, very early in where we choose to drop anchor in the next film. So, it could be five years after the event, it could be the night after the event of where we left 'Dawn'. It's very difficult to know where the story's going right at the moment because it's being written as we speak."
Given the way Dawn ended, a majority of fans would most likely opt for something that picks up immediately, or, at the very least, shortly after the climax of that film. The third act of Dawn showed that tensions between humans and apes had reached a boiling point and the threat of a destructive war was nigh. With conflict inevitable at this point, the consensus seems to be that something like War of the Planet of the Apes (using Dawn's finale as a launching point) would be a logical way to continue the story that has come before.
Reeves has talked about his ideas for the Dawn sequel, and one area he hopes to tackle is Caesar's status as an outsider in both the human and ape worlds. Where we stand in the timeline right now, humanity still believes they can reclaim Earth, so focusing on the direct aftermath of Dawn's events (instead of something like the ten-year gap between the plots of Rise and Dawn) would be a way of achieving that goal, as Caesar is torn between a confrontation between two species that he loves.
Since the series is called Planet of the Apes, we all know that the end game is what was portrayed in the 1968 original, with the apes completely in charge. Their reign had only just begun in Dawn and the ape society shown still had a long ways to go before reaching the point of their kin in that Charles Heston classic. Apes 3 is going to be a trilogy-capper of sorts, but will it be the actual conclusion of the full narrative?
Serkis seemed to think that the franchise could go beyond three movies if need be, citing Reeves' desire to see the apes "evolve":
"The journey will continue and it might not necessarily be summarized and completely fulfilled in this next one. Eventually we know we're going to end up at 'Planet of the Apes,' but whether it's this film or not, I don't know."
One of our suggestions for doing the Dawn sequel "right" was specifically to not lead into the original film, since the feeling is that there is still much more material to cover. Fans are expecting that the new films will offer some kind of variation on the '68 movie eventually (since everything so far appears to be pointing in that direction), but there is no rush. It's true that Rise was a prequel, but the recent offerings are also seen as reboots, which means they can operate as their own entities and Reeves should have the freedom to tell the story as he sees fit.
As for movies beyond Apes 3, it's hard at this point if that's what Fox has in the cards (though the studio probably wouldn't mind the marketing opportunities). Even Serkis isn't sure what his director has in store, so we'll just have to wait and see. Regardless, given Reeves' passion for this series and the characters, it should be a satisfying adventure no matter what roads we go down.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be on Blu-ray December 2, 2014.
Planet of the Apes 3 (not the official title) will hit theaters on July 29, 2016.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.
Source: MTV UK