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Thanks to Disney’s purchase of the studio formerly known as 20th Century Fox, there are various franchises which now rest under the Mouse House’s proverbial umbrella, including Planet of the Apes. It was reported last December that a new Apes movie was in development, although it was unclear at the time whether it would be a sequel to 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes or reboot the property. Now word’s come in that it’ll apparently be the latter.
After reporting that production designer Daniel Dorrance has joined the crew of the new Planet of the Apes movie, which will be directed by Wes Ball (the two of them previously worked together on two of the Maze Runner movies and were going to reunite on Mouse Guard before Disney put the kibosh on that project), Discussing Film mentioned that its sources say that this next venture into the Apes mythology will be a full-on reboot. Thus, it’s unlikely that it will tie back to the previous Planet of the Apes trilogy.
Assuming this is true, that begs the question of what this new Planet of the Apes movie will be about. Will it be another brand-new story, just like how 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes provided a different origin story for how the apes rose to power? Or will we get another remake of the first Planet of the Apes movie? You’ll recall that Tim Burton put his own spin on the 1968 original back in 2001, and it was met with mixed-to-negative reviews, resulting in sequel plans being scrapped.
While I can understand 20th Century Studios going the reboot route if it wants to explore a different way Earth’s apes became super-intelligent, if we are just getting a new take on the original Planet of the Apes, which was set thousands of years in the future, I don’t see why it couldn’t still be connected to the latest Planet of the Apes trilogy that Rupert Wyatt and Matt Reeves oversaw.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes were all set in the present day/near future, and audiences watched as the apes established their own society and nearly all of humanity was wiped out, with the survivors starting to lose their intelligence in War. By the end of the trilogy, Andy Serkis’ Caesar led the apes to their new home, and before dying of his injuries, he was assured by his old friend Maurice that his son Cornelius would be told about who his father was and what he’d done.
With Caesar’s story concluded, that’s the perfect point to jump forward nearly two millennia to see how ape society has evolved, giving us something similar to what was in the original Planet of the Apes, but with plenty of room to tweak things like appearance, architectural designs, etc. There’s room to reference/tie back to the first three movies from this continuity, but with so much time having passed, it’s plausible one could enjoy the new Planet of the Apes movie without having seen the preceding trilogy.
Plus, let’s not forget that Rise of the Planet of the Apes showed TV footage of the space ship Icarus taking off before the ALZ-113 virus started spreading, and it was reported as being “lost in space.” As fans of the old school Planet of the Apes know, this is the ship carrying George Taylor and his crew that’s transported to the future, so there’s already groundwork laid for humans from the ‘present’ to end up in the ape-controlled future.
Whatever new creative approach this new Planet of the Apes movie ends up taking, Discussing Film also noted that filming is set to begin later this year, which would put it on track for a 2022 release. Whether that time table will be followed or not, it seems that 20th Century Studios is looking to get rolling on this movie sooner rather than later. Perhaps that means that casting news could arrive in the coming months.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on how this Planet of the Apes movie is coming along. In the meantime, keep track of what’s hitting the big screen later this year with our 2020 release schedule.