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While the focus of the revamped Planet of the Apes films is, obviously, on the apes themselves, there are always a variety of human characters as well. Some are good, like James Franco’s Will Rodman, and some are bad, like Tom Felton’s Dodge Landon. Now the next chapter, War for the Planet of the Apes, has found one of its lead humans, a villain in this case, to be played by Woody Harrelson.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the third installment in the new Apes franchise, the True Detective Season 1 star has been cast as the primary antagonist of the film. There isn’t much to tell about his character, aside from that his name is reportedly Colonel, which, given how the last movie ended, isn’t a huge shock to the system.
At the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Malcolm (Jason Clarke) tells Caesar (played by Andy Serkis in motion capture), the ape leader, that the military, which still apparently exists out there in the world, is on the way to San Francisco to eradicate the ape enclave once and for all. It’s an ominous ending, one that sets up the obvious conflict moving forward, and between that and the title War for the Planet of the Apes, we all knew a large scale clash was coming. It makes a great deal of sense for the primary antagonist to be a military man.
And with Woody Harrelson in the role, you can bet we’re going to get a grim, tough-as-nails, shit-kicking military man at that, which sounds pretty awesome. Hopefully he’ll have more to do than Gary Oldman’s character in Dawn, who was little more a flat, one-note antagonist.
Aside from this, we don’t really know much about War. It obviously involves a battle between the apes and the humans who blame them for the so-called Simian Flu (even though the disease is a manmade concoction). But as far as particulars, there’s not much to go on. Gabriel Chavarria was recently cast in the film, but is role is reportedly on the small side and not particularly vital. At this point, we don’t even know for sure if Andy Serkis is going to be back, though hopefully he will return. He’s so good in that part, even under layers of pixels, that it’s hard to imagine anyone else adequately filling his shoes.
The creative behind-the-scenes team, however, remains largely intact. Matt Reeves who directed Dawn is returning to take the helm for the third chapter in the saga. Mark Bomback, who wrote the script last time out, will do the same again, as will Dylan Clark, who worked as a producer on the previous film.
We’ll see Woody Harrelson back on the big screen in a few months as he reprises his role as Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1, and War for the Planet of the Apes is slated for release on July 14, 2017.