How Caesar Will Link Back To The Original Planet Of The Apes, According To Matt Reeves

Planet Of The Apes

Those of you of a certain age might not realize that the recent duo of Planet Of The Apes films, and the upcoming third installment, were inspired by five Planet Of The Apes films released between 1968 and 1973, which secured the franchise's place in pop culture history. While not directly linked to the original Planet Of The Apes films, director Matt Reeves has admitted that Rise, Dawn, and the upcoming War For have and will pay respect to the mythology of these films, though.

During my chat with both Matt Reeves and the rebooted Planet Of The Apes' producer Dylan Clark at New York Comic Con last week, I asked the pair about why they'd watched various biblical epics when trying to create the arc for Caesar in War For The Planet Of The Apes. Matt Reeves then admitted that the goal is for Caesar to become a mythic character, whose revolutionary efforts evolve and shape a world that's similar to the one Roddy McDowall's Cornelius populates. Reeves explained:

We wanted [Caesar] to be that kind of mythic character. You know one of the things is, we're not redoing any of [the original] films, but we're always reminded of what's in the universe and there's this stuff in the originals, there's the sacred scrolls and The Lawgiver. And the idea is that Caeser is, he's the ape. He's the one who started it all. He freed them. And brought them their intelligence through what happened in Rise. And so he really is, if that figure existed in human history that person would be like a God. And we felt like, 'Oh, this is so cool. He takes on this mythic status.' So that is what we're really going for.

The original Planet Of The Apes films revealed that the Sacred Scrolls had been written by The Lawgiver and were used as the basis for the apes' laws and customs. They were especially critical of humans, who the Lawgiver referred to as "the devil's spawn." They were repeatedly referenced throughout these five films, however the Lawgiver himself didn't appear until the fifth installment, 1973's Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, in which he was played by the legendary John Huston.

For those of you looking for a quick catch-up, 1968's Planet Of The Apes told the story of American astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston)'s struggles after he time-travelled to a future where intelligent apes dominated primitive humans, while 1970's Beneath The Planet Of The Apes was still set in this future. But 1971's Escape From The Planet Of The Apes then saw Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) do some time-traveling of their own back to 1970s U.S. despite the fact that Beneath had concluded with a nuclear bomb destroying the planet.

However, Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes was set in a dystopian 1991, followed Caesar (Roddy McDowall, again) the son of Zira and Cornelius and told the origins of how Caesar led apes to usurp humans as the dominant species of the planet. While Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes isn't officially a remake, there are similarities. There are the same similarities between Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, which is told as a flashback by John Huston's Lawgiver in North America -- 2670 A.D., and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, too.

Of course, there's also Tim Burton's attempted reboot of Planet Of The Apes from 2001, but the less said about that the better. We'll get to see the latest edition from the much more successful retelling of the franchise when War For The Planet Of The Apes is released in July, 2017.

Gregory Wakeman