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When Rise of the Planet of the Apes turned out to be not only a good movie, but a great one, a sequel was pretty much guaranteed - especially since this was 20th Century Fox’s second bite at refreshing the Ape apple following the "let’s not even talk about it" effort from Tim Burton in 2001. Among those who benefited from the success of the film was its star, James Franco, who almost looked like he was going to torpedo his promising career with the stoner fantasy flop Your Highness in the same year. A lot of his credibility was restored with his portrayal of Dr. Will Rodman, the genius who accidentally brought upon the downfall of mankind. Much like how his character didn’t mean to be the bearer of the apocalypse, Mr. Franco also apparently didn’t mean to play a cameo role in upcoming sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Yet according to EW , he’s doing just that… whether he knows it or not.
In the magazine’s recently released Summer Preview issue, they mention a "posthumous cameo via video" for Dr. Rodman. When reached for comment by the publication, Mr. Franco had this to say:
"Wait, I have a cameo? I didn’t even know that. You know, I don’t even think they asked my permission to do that."
This means one of two things: either footage of Franco is going to be recycled from the film, or those of you who thought he was filming Oz: The Great and Powerful under the influence were dead on with your instincts. If I had to wager a guess, they’re going to use some footage of Dr. Rodman’s scientific research in a scene where Caesar either misses his adoptive father or wants to know how he was created.
It’s a shame that Dr. Rodman had to die, as the writers could have executed an interesting plot twist by having him as the not only the singular human trusted by the apes, but maybe an important member of their society. Armchair speculation aside, this cameo is more than likely a legal repurposing of footage from Rise, much like Back to The Future Part II still had footage of Crispin Glover as George McFly in 1955. When Glover refused to come back and film a futuristic version of his character in a cameo, the producers got creative and hid another actor under age makeup. Just in case this wasn’t enough to blur the difference, they also had him flipped upside down and wrote it off as the result of a clumsy accident. Seeing as Dr. Rodman liked to keep video logs of his work, the only clumsy accident they could use to blur the lines of legality are improperly calibrated recording devices. Good luck working that into the dialogue of a developing ape intelligence.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be in theaters, hopefully without any clumsy accidents, on July 11th.