20th Century Fox has unveiled the first trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, the third film in the “rebooted” prequel Planet of the Apes franchise following Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Dawn filmmaker Matt Reeves returns to direct a story that picks up two years after Andy Serkis’ Caesar battled a sort of civil war amongst the apes thanks to the radical Koba, and the story now continues in the thick of a war between the apes and humans. Spurred by an inciting incident, Caesar finds himself on something of a revenge path against a human character played by Woody Harrelson, whose death he believes may finally put an end to this war once and for all.
This trailer has a wonderfully epic feel to it, and it reminds me of how Reeves altered the franchise once he stepped in to direct Dawn after Rupert Wyatt directed Rise. The initial plan was for the apes to have full language in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but Reeves wanted to slow things down and take a more natural approach to the apes’ evolution. If Dawn showed the events that solidified the divide between ape and man while also showing Caesar’s attempt to live harmoniously, then the aptly named War looks to show us the final stand between apes and humans, and at the end one imagines we’ll have finally arrived at the moment where the apes have taken their place atop the food chain.
The visuals here are tremendous and I love the change of setting from the forest-y Dawn to a wintry landscape. It offers a refreshing palette that we haven’t yet seen in an Apes movie, and reflects the exhaustion of both sides as the movie picks up two years after the events of Dawn. Reeves is a thoughtful filmmaker—Dawn was essentially a story about the dangers of weapons/guns—so I’m curious to see what thematic territory he’s delving into here. For now, this is a very promising start.
Check out the first War for the Planet of the Apes trailer below, followed by links to our bevy of set visit coverage which is packed with info. The film also stars Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval, and Max Lloyd-Jones. War for the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters on July 14, 2017.
For much more on War for the Planet of the Apes, peruse the links to our set visit coverage below.
- Andy Serkis on Caesar’s Dark and Brutal Journey in ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’
- Is Koba Really Dead in ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’?
- ‘War for the Planet of the Apes': How “Apes in Snow” Resulted in Cutting-Edge VFX
- ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Will Explore the Impact of the ALZ Virus on Apes & Humans
Here’s the official synopsis for War for the Planet of the Apes:
In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.