What We Know: War for the Planet of the Apes


By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

Apes. Together. Strong. So says Caesar as we embark upon the third installment of the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise. Keep reading to find out what we know about the 20th Century Fox film, War for the Planet of the Apes.

2011 brought us Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the origin story of Caesar and the beginnings of smart apes and a dramatic human population decline due to the Simian Flu. 2014 introduced us to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, where 10 years later, each species is just trying to survive and Caesar wants only peace with the humans. Peace was out of reach, even as Caesar took leadership after he struck down the battle-hungry Koba. Now, it looks like war.

In January 2014, 20th Century Fox announced that they would continue with a third installment of the series, and in May 2015 the project was given the title War for the Planet of the Apes. Although the project was initially slated for a 2016 release, in early 2015, the studio pushed it to 2017. Principal photography for the movie, written by Matt Reeves and Mark Bomback, began in October 2015 in Vancouver with the extensive post-production process beginning in May 2016.

Produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver, War for the Planet of the Apes was directed by the aforementioned Reeves, who helmed the previous film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The story continues two years after the events of the previous movie. Apes and humans are officially at war with each another. This may be due, in large part, to The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), a human leader apparently determined to wipe out all apes. Even if the apes offer peace, and even if some apes fight on the side of humans, he is sure that humans will be replaced. The Colonel is cruel and unmoving in his beliefs that violence and inhumanity will save humanity, and Reeves has teased that the leader is driven by a secret from his past.

Caesar (Andy Serkis) is also deeply affected by his past. Breaking the number one rule of apes by killing Koba haunts Caesar, even now. Meanwhile, the humans are hunting him and his fellow apes. He is a legend, a myth. Reeves told Empire, “We felt like we wanted Caesar to become the ape Moses. We wanted him to become this giant, mythic figure, and the tests that he endures in this film are the tests that secure his place as the key figure in ape history that will go down and be remembered forever.” Will Caesar live up to the legend? What will the ape histories say about him? Will the stories tell of a terrible tragedy which leads Caesar and companions go on a journey? Is it for a new home and an escape? Or is it more likely a journey to find The Colonel and get some kind of revenge? The two are certain enemies, and their conflict may decide the fates of the species they represent. Check out the newest full length trailer yourself here!

While humans have their tanks, artillery, and compounds, the apes fight from the treetops to gain what little advantage they can get with their scavenged and created weapons. But War for the Planet of the Apes isn’t just about war. It may in part deal with humanity, even if that humanity isn’t in the humans. We see Maurice (Karin Konoval), a wise orangutan who advises Caesar, take mute human girl, Nova (Amiah Miller), under his protection. (You might remember Linda Harrison’s Nova from the original Planet of the Apes franchise.) Family doesn’t end there, as Caesar has a wife, Cornelia (Judy Greer), and a son, Blue Eyes (Max Lloyd-Jones). Meanwhile, Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) joins the group to guide them on their trip while providing some laughs and some heart, as he appears to be a bit…off-kilter.

Responses to footage and trailers have been generally positive, with great acclaim going to the motion-capture performances of the actors, all set to the incredible music composed by Michael Giacchino (Star Trek). To see it for yourself, mark your calendars for the release of War for the Planet of the Apes on July 14, 2017!

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