The Planet of the Apes franchise is one of those few long-running film series that continues to bear creatively exciting fruit. After a bungled remake in 2001, director Rupert Wyatt successful jumpstarted the franchise with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes thanks to cutting-edge technology and a fantastic lead performance from Andy Serkis via motion-capture. Matt Reeves took over as the director for this year’s follow-up, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and again we got a fascinating story with relevant themes and incredible performances—this time with Toby Kebbell announcing himself as a formidable talent in the motion-capture department for his portrayal of Koba.
Reeves is returning to the director’s chair for the follow-up to Dawn, and when Steve recently spoke with the filmmaker in anticipation of the film’s Blu-ray release, they also touched on the next film. Reeves said they’re still in the process of outlining the story, but did say that the overall arc of the next film is Caesar’s rise as the seminal figure for ape history, with Reeves likening him to Moses. Moreover, the director offered a humorous tease about the potential title of the sequel. More after the jump.
“We are outlining the story right now, and it’s pretty exciting. I’m pretty excited about it. I think for me the idea is that—somebody called this the ‘Caesar cycle’ of these films and I loved that. I thought, ‘That’s exactly right.’ He is this unique character in that he sort of was raised as human but he’s an ape, and he wasn’t part of either.”
The filmmaker touched on the overall story arc for this next film as it relates to the two pictures the preceded it:
“In the first movie, he sort of rises from humble beginnings to become a revolutionary, Dawn was very much about him ascending to become a leader in really difficult times and having to be tested in that way, but this next movie I think is about him becoming the seminal figure for ape history. [It’s] like myth ascension, him becoming the ape Moses, for lack of a better sort of character to model him after. He is very much that way of being sort of caught between these two worlds, and I think that’s gonna be exciting to see the ways in which we can push him to places that are gonna make him very uncomfortable.”
“This situation is exactly what he was trying to avoid. The oncoming war is what Dawn was all about avoiding and it wasn’t avoided, so what does that mean to him as a character and how will he lead his people through this—or his apes through this?”
A production start date hasn’t yet been set as Reeves is focused on making sure the story is nailed down first, but he does have a title in mind. He wasn’t willing to reveal it since the official title hasn’t been agreed upon yet, but he did offer this:
“I’ll say this as a tease: it might be one word shorter.”
Curious to be certain, given that the previous two films both had “of the Planet of the Apes” in their titles. Regardless, I was a fan of what Reeves brought to the franchise with Dawn and I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes with this next feature.