Since the beginning, the Planet of the Apes films have focused on the broader ideas of politics and society via people pretending to be gorillas, using stories of simian revolution and literal gorilla warfare to ask questions about mankind’s nature and the circular direction of history. 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a triumph of exploring the elusive quality of peace between disparate cultures. And now the same director of that film, Matt Reeves, is back and even co-writing 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes, a kind of ascension to Caesar’s arc.
Indeed, the main character of this franchise is an ape that Andy Serkis has played from childhood, and now he will take on a historic stature in the film that will finally explain why the apes permanently usurped humanity as the leaders of this world.
So join us as we unravel what to expect!
War for the Panet of the Apes News
20th Century Fox is making sure audiences know that the character of Nova is being introduced in War for the Planet of the Apes. An important character in the film simply for being a human that Caesar welcomes into his clan, she has the double importance of likely being a human of even greater importance in Ape lore. For fans of the original films know Nova is the young woman who catches the eye of Charlton Heston’s Taylor when he clash lands on a planet ruled by apes. Whether she is meant to be the same character in the rebooted franchise… well that is intentionally left up for audiences to speculate upon for the time being.
In the meantime, however, enjoy the below that documents what her relationship in the film will be with Caesar. Here’s a hint: he’s not crazy about humans when he first meets her.
War for the Planet of the Apes Trailer
We have a new War for the Planet of the Apes trailer that looks positively grim. How marvelous. In the below video, Charlton Heston’s optimism is juxtaposed with the cynicism inherent in the series, and his onscreen alter-ego who began it all… Taylor (or Bright Eyes, if you prefer his Simian designation).
And the previous trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes trailer zeroed in on the rivalry between Andy Serkis’ Caesar and Woody Harrelson’s Colonel. Needless to say there’s little chance of them becoming friends. What is curious is that the trailer reveals the humans will be keeping some apes as slaves/collaborators. This world just a got a little grayer still… and more fascinating.
And here is the first full trailer if you haven’t seen it yet either:
War for the Planet of the Apes Release Date
War for the Planet of the Apes will be dropping on July 14, 2017.
Original Apes Movie Connections
During the Fox Showcase in December, we gleaned over 15 minutes of new footage from the movie. We detailed our thoughts on the footage here, but something that will have fans of the original Apes films very intrigued is the reveal that the little girl in the film is named Nova.
Yes, there is a mute girl captured by Maurice. Keeping her as a kind of domesticated pet, she is the bane of Caesar’s existence for now, but she points to humanity’s future: one of servitude. This also might mean we could see a new version of the astronauts from the original Planet of the Apes films sooner than later since a very adult Nova (played by Linda Harrison) is the mute and agrarian love interest of Charlton Heston’s Taylor in the original 1968 film, Planet of the Apes.
War for the Planet of the Apes Story
20th Century Fox has already been so kind to release the full War for the Planet of the Apes synopsis, which you can reade below:
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 this 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.
However, we got a better reading on what to expect when we sat down to interview Matt Reeves, Andy Serkis, and Dylan Clark back in October. During our interview, they stressed this would be the film will mark a sense of escalation for Caesar, as he realizes that Koba might have been right about humanity after the deaths of many apes in the war. As a consequence, he will rise higher as a leader to such a status that all three men told us that Caesar will take on a biblical epic stature.
War for the Planet of the Apes Cast and Crew
War for the Planet of the Apes will of course return Andy Serkis to the role of Caesar on the screen. The picture will also Judy Greer reprising the role of Cornelia, Karen Konoval as Maurice, and Terry Notary as Rocket. The picture will also include new human characters, including Steve Zahn in an unspecified role, and Woody Harrelson as the antagonistic leader of man, known simply as the Colonel. From the footage we have seen, the Colonel will be a cross between both Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall’s characters in Apocalypse Now, a war-hungry and zealous militaristic authoritarian convinced if he does not kill all the apes, it will be the end of humanity as we know it.
The movie is being directed again by Matt Reeves, who directed Dawn, as well as Let Me In and Cloverfield. However, Reeves is also now co-writing this installment, alongside Mark Bomback, who penned Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Dylan Clark has also returned to produce the picture.
War for the Planet of the Apes Comic Con Footage
In addition to seeing the first full trailer early, New York Comic Con revelers were treated to more than seven minutes of in-progress footage from the film, including sequences that hint that the film will deal with the origin of “domesticated,” muted humans in the Apes mythology, as well as Caesar’s newfound cruelty toward the other species. We detailed the entire extent of the footage here, but you can also read an excerpt below.
To take a step back for a moment, the sequence shown was so early in the cradle of its post-production process that Serkis told the audience this sort of preemptive peeling back of the curtain had never been done before by a major studio film. Director Matt Reeves, meanwhile, compared the experience of showing this material to the audience as like being stripped down and forced to stand nude before a crowd. I suspect he was only half joking.
Luckily, the scene itself was so impressive that despite the often barely-there special effects (which we’ll get to in a moment), it was nevertheless a hypnotically engaging and instantly gripping bit of quiet character work. Continuing the somber and often intimate tone elicited from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the scene is primarily about several apes, led by Serkis’ Caesar and Karin Konoval’s infinitely empathetic Maurice. When last we saw them in the previous film, Serkis’ fatherly chimp and Konoval’s intellectual orangutan were the two most peaceful and diplomatic of apes. However, something has changed for the worse inside of Caesar between films.
… This sequence is filmed on what is presumably the western coastline, however once Caesar leads the gang of apes into one of the houses, the strings further show as there are few animated effects left, and Serkis, Konoval, and the rest of the team are seen in their simple motion-capture suits displaying tremendous performances. Indeed, Maurice’s character comes out just as strongly as Caesar’s when all of them discover someone in the barracks—but it isn’t a soldier.
Inside a bunk, they find a scared little human girl clinging to her mattress. Serkis’ face displays complete shock and anger, hinting that Caesar even briefly considers killing the child. Maurice literally stays his leader’s equivocating hand. Caesar then leaves her be and has his followers scour the shack for supplies. However, Maurice remains behind and attempts to offer the young girl a doll, trying to both console and communicate with the child… but when she tries to speak no words come out.