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Before 20th Century Fox resurrected its dormant Planet of the Apes franchise with 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes -- an origin story of the evolution of an intelligent ape -- there were five original films in the series as well as an ill-fated relaunch in 2001 from director Tim Burton. No one knew for sure how many movies would be in this new series of Apes films centered around Caesar (played, through motion-capture, by Andy Serkis), but we can now confirm that this summer's War For the Planet of the Apes will conclude a trilogy that started with Rise and extended through Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. We interviewed producer Peter Chernin, who told us:
We've always looked at these three movies as a trilogy. Not to say it's the end of the Apes movies, because what we're trying to do is get as close up to the original Planet of the Apes. But we were always looking at these three movies as a trilogy, and I think this movie in some ways completes this trilogy from when Caesar was born. What we're trying to do with this movie is bring it to a final war between humans and apes, and obviously, you'll see what happens there.
That wasn't always the case. In fact, we reported less than a year ago that producer Dylan Clark and director Matt Reeves -- who continues with War For the Planet of the Apes what he started in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes -- were treating the series on a film-by-film basis. They said, at the time, that they focus on each film, and strive to make them complete and fulfilling stories, but that they love these characters, and they want to continue telling stories with them.
Along the way, though, it has been decided that War For the Planet of the Apes will bring some closure to the story that launched with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as Peter Chernin confirmed to me:
When Caesar was born, it put him on a collision course with human civilization. And we wanted to complete that collision course in this movie.
Matt Reeves directs War For the Planet of the Apes, which drops into theaters on July 14. To get a full sense of the movies coming to theaters this summer, check out our full 2017 Summer Movies Calendar.