The rebooted Planet of the Apes film series, which began in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has quickly become one of the better modern franchises Hollywood has to offer. Both Rise and its sequel, 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, achieved a great deal of critical and commercial success, with Dawn earning an impressive $710.6 million worldwide at the box office. It should come as no surprise that Fox has a third installment - War for the Planet of the Apes - scheduled for release in July 2017. Andy Serkis returns to his acclaimed role as Caesar, while Dawn director Matt Reeves is back calling the shots.
New York City Comic-Con 2016 was used as the launching pad for the first wave of War for the Planet of the Apes marketing, as Fox organized a panel for the event. The studio also unveiled a digital billboard at NYCC and recently released a synopsis teasing the massive conflict between the apes and humans. Fans have become eager to see footage from the film, and now Fox has posted the first official teaser trailer online. You can watch it above.
Featuring voice over from both Caesar and the new human character The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), the preview establishes a tone for War that is very much in line with its predecessor. Both sides of the conflict are in dire straits, fighting for their own survival. From the looks of it, the experience has taken a toll on Caesar; once a pacifist who tried to co-exist with the humans, he's now fully commited himself to the ape's cause (as evidenced by the closing shot of Caesar striking a soldier with the end of a rifle). In terms of scope and scale, director Matt Reeves has pulled out all the stops, offering what might be the most epic installment in the franchise yet. Considering the title of the film, fans should expect plenty of hard-hitting action and more stunning visuals - including the now-famous photorealistic apes.
War for the Planet of the Apes is also continuing the franchise tradition of having an all-new human cast. This time around, the main figure there is The Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson. The actor gets some time to shine in the trailer, hinting at a performance that's defined by intensity and desperation. One of the best qualities about Dawn was that the humans (for the most part) were sympathetic, so the hope is that The Colonel and his allies are three-dimensional and not just stock villains to go against Caesar. With a talent like Harrelson front and center, there's sure to be some depth to them as they fight for their own survival on a planet that was once theirs.
When Rise of the Planet of the Apes was first announced, few could have predicted that it would become a reliable tentpole for Fox, but it has impressed many viewers with its extraordinary visual effects work, captivating themes, and well-realized characters. Especially after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes scaled enormous heights, there's a fair amount of pressure on War to deliver and keep the series hot streak going. Despite being the third in an unofficial trilogy, the studio is open for there to be more Apes films down the line, so they want this one to be as big a hit as the others. If this first look is any indication, their wish will be fulfilled.
Source: 20th Century Fox
- War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) release date: Jul 14, 2017