Matt Reeves has successfully rebooted the Planet Of The Apes franchise with an extended telling of the story of how apes came to become the dominant species here on Earth and, as Planet of the Apes fans have seen in the latest film, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Reeves’ retelling is as tragic as any Shakespearean play. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, as well as Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, tells the story of a species of primates more advanced than their human fore-bearers, striving to peacefully co-exist on a planet with more than enough room. However, as Caesar, leader of the apes, tells it at the end of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, all sides are not always so eager for peace.
“War has… already begun. Ape started war. And human… Human will not forgive.”
Hence, the new title, as reported by Collider, for the next Planet Of The Apes prequel: War Of The Planet Of The Apes.
While Reeve’s Planet Of The Apes saga does retell the story of the apes in general, Matt stresses that it delves more deeply into Caesar’s life and explores his character, as he becomes the leader of the apes. Looking forward to War Of The Planet Of The Apes, Matt hopes to continue to explore Caesar’s role.
“We are going to take him to places that test him in a way that is more painful, and in ways that he has never been tested before. [We will] really test his leadership, and more than that his heart and soul.”
Reeves refers back to Caesar’s upbringing throughout the first Planet of the Apes films, specifically citing the ape’s human upbringing and how that exposure to humankind would eventually help Caesar to understand his future enemy. Even as he takes control of the apes in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Caesar finds himself thrown in between two foes and realizes that he has never completely belonged to either society.
“He was raised by humans and in a way he sort of thought he was human, yet an outsider, but he is also an ape. And when he was thrown in with the apes who he later led to a revolution, he was quite different than they were because he hadn’t been brought up as an ape. He was both ape and human and also neither. That made him a unique character to be a bridge between these two worlds in the story.”
This brings Caesar to face war with the humans from a unique perspective and from the position of having to do something that he never wanted and had tried to avoid. As War Of The Planet Of The Apes begins, it will propel Caesar forward into a future that couldn’t have been avoided.
“It’s going to be an epic story. I think you’ve probably read that I sort of described it where in the first film was very much about his rise from humble beginnings to being a revolutionary. The second movie was about having to rise to the challenge of being a great leader in the most difficult of times. This is going to be the story that is going to cement his status as a seminal figure in ape history, and sort of leads to an almost biblical status. He is going to become like a mythic ape figure, like Moses.”
Telling such an extravagant Planet Of The Apes tale seems to beg the question of whether Matt sees himself remaking the original The Planet Of The Apes film from 1968.
“The idea would never be to remake the ’68 film. There might be some of those events from another perspective, and obviously to also see them as events that grew out of everything that we’ve been watching from this new iteration. They wouldn’t be exactly the same either. So if, and when, we ever get there, which I think is an exciting notion, it would definitely not be a remake but it would be sort of a re-telling of those events from a new perspective. And the events themselves would probably be a bit different since they will have grown out of these films.”
War of the Planet of the Apes is scheduled to hit theaters on July 14, 2017.
[Featured image: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox]