Ready for Disney’s Planet of the Apes? Even if you aren’t, it’s still happening. Planet of the Apes is about to be one of the first Fox properties to get a new lease on life under new Disney ownership, with Maze Runner helmer Wes Ball tapped to develop and direct. But here’s what’s unclear: no one is saying whether or not this is a whole new reboot of the franchise. Or if it’s going to tie into the recent trilogy starring Andy Serkis as advanced ape revolutionary Caesar.
THR has the scope on the new Planet of the Apes movie, adding the disclaimer that it’s “unclear whether the new Apes project is meant to be a new reboot or an extension of the previous film series.” I’m not a betting man, but I’m going to assume this is going to be a whole new reboot, simply because that’s the way Hollywood works. It would also make sense since the previous Apes trilogy came to a fairly conclusive end with 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes.
Then again, there’s potential to keep the story going, albeit without Caesar, since he died in the last film. War concluded with the surviving apes reaching the promised land and humanity all but wiped out. A new film could jump further into the future, to a time when the apes had evolved even further. And are now driving around in ape cars and going to ape jobs and hanging out at ape bars. All of this is wild speculation, though.
The Planet of the Apes film franchise began in 1968, with the original Planet of the Apes, adapted from the novel Pierre Boule. That spawned four sequels: Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970). Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). There was also a TV series and an animated series. The first attempt at a film reboot came in 2001, with Tim Burton’s visually stunning but narratively flat Planet of the Apes. The Apes got a second lease on life in 2011 with the surprisingly good Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Which utilized motion-capture technology to bring the primates to life.
That entry was helmed by Ruper Wyatt. But Matt Reeves took over the series from there, directing 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes. And now here we go again, with Wes Ball running the show. I’ll confess I’ve never seen any of the Maze Runner films. So I have no idea how good a filmmaker Ball is. But he certainly has experience helming dystopian tales. So perhaps that went a long way toward landing him this new gig.