Franchises are like the War Boys in Mad Max: Fury Road: They live, they die, then they live again. It’s been less than three years ago since, despite glowing reviews, War of the Planet of the Apes — the threequel to the last reboot of the classic series — underperformed enough to almost certainly put the franchise on ice, or at least in question. Well, now we have our answer: As per Entertainment Weekly, it’s being brought back from the dead by Wes Ball, director of the Maze Runner trilogy.
That being said, it’s not entirely clear if this is a continuation of the last run of Apes pictures, or if it’s a re-reboot à la all the Spider-Man iterations. Likewise, there’s no word if Andy Serkis, who earned accolades for his motion-capture performance as rebellious simian Caesar, would return in any capacity. Caesar perished at the end of War, with his species free to outlive dastardly humans and take over Earth, as foretold in the original 1968 film Planet of the Apes.
Ball’s involvement comes not long after news that what was to be his next project — a mo-cap-heavy adaptation of the graphic novel Mouse Guard — was shelved after its parent company, Fox, was absorbed by Disney. Ball teased the news on Twitter, with a post that was simply a picture of Maurice Evans, who played Dr. Zaius in the ’68 Planet of the Apes, enjoying a behind-the-scenes smoke.
The apes IP had been rebooted back in 2011 via Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which served to show the beginning of the human-ape split that would pave the way for the latter’s conquest of Earth. The next two films showed the rift growing; by War, nearly all humans had turned against their close evolutionary relatives, but had luckily bungled their attempt to wipe them out.
The original five Ape films ran from 1968 through 1973, and are wild and bizarre, complete with a massive time jump from episodes two to three, plus pointed socio-political commentary the latest reboot noticeably softened. No doubt an Apes series arriving in the era of You Know Who have a lot fodder from which to draw for inspiration.