The resurrected Planet of the Apes franchise is proof positive that it is indeed possible to launch a prequel series to one of cinema’s most recognizable, oft-quoted, and simply sprawling franchises without marring the good name of the original series. Rupert Wyatt and Matt Reeves have both turned in exciting, tense, emotional, and nuanced films — Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, respectively — and while we presumably know where these films are heading (to a true planet of the apes and one pissed off astronaut interloper), we don’t know exactly when.
The original five-film Planet of the Apes series kicked off in 1968, eventually spreading out to include some big hits and some major misses and a lot of time-jumping (are you only familiar with the first film, when Charlton Heston lands on an ape-populated Earth after missing the events that lead to such a sea change because he’s an astronaut who’s been out in space? did that time play bend your mind? oh, you’ve got some catching up to do — hit Escape from the Planet of the Apes and ready your brain to be blown). The new series is a prequel series, and one that pulls from some of the ideas that frame up the final two original Apes films (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes), so it’s inevitable that fans have to wonder: when will the new Apes and the old Apes converge?
Basically, is a Charlton Heston surrogate going to show up soon?
Cinema Blend asked Reeves when we can expect to see the events of the first Planet of the Apes film play out in this new series. His answer was pretty surprising, but it also fits in line with the trajectory of the first two films in the new series. Reeves told the outlet:
I think some people assume that we’re going to get back to the ’68 film, like, next. And actually… no. To me, the cool thing – people have asked me, ‘Isn’t it boring, because you know how it’s going to end?’ And I say that’s the best part about it. This world is nothing like that world. How do we get from here to there? Instead of being a story about ‘what,’ it becomes a story about how and why, which is all about character. And if this is Caesar’s story, and the story of the mythic character that he becomes, then as we know in the apes timeline, Caesars begat other Caesars, and it’s a generational story. This is an epic journey toward the trajectory of that story!
It could be many movies. I think there are a lot of interesting stories that come, not only from Caesar, but from what comes after Caesar, his children, and his children’s children. What happens when humans return? All of those stories…it’s so rich. And I think that it’s so cool that we know how it ends without knowing how we get there. Because that becomes the fuel for these stories. So it’s not going to be next, for sure. We are going to take a while to get there.
Reeves has crammed a lot of information in there, and most of it is quite exciting. Despite his moniker, there’s been little question that the Caesar we all know and love is not the Caesar of the other Apes franchise — unless those damn, dirty apes have somehow managed to live forever, it’s just not feasible — and that his name will end up being be passed down through his family line (this, of course, gives credence to my theory that the baby ape born during Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is named “Little Caesar”). By the time we get to the events of Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1968 Planet of the Apes, the apes have proven to be the top tier of the evolutionary chain and they mostly assume that’s the way things have been for quite some time (humans are still around, but they’ve been cruelly imprisoned and kicked around). Those apes are not like Caesar or Blue Eyes or Maurice, they have no memory of how things used to be or the bond that’s possible between man and ape.
In short, the franchise will eventually get to a point where no one is crying over an old video of James Franco, and that’s going to take some time. This also gives us the possibility of more time with some of the humans we’ve grown to love, especially DOTPOTA‘s Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and Kodi Smit-McPhee characters, all of whom we’d love to see again. Let’s not kill them off just yet, okay?
The next Apes movie — set to be again be directed by Reeves — is expected to hit theaters on July 29, 2016.
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