The way director Matt Reeves talks, you can infer there’s a lot more mileage left in the Planet of the Apes franchise. Ahead of the release of the third film in the rebooted series, War For the Planet of the Apes, the director spoke to FANDOM about his hopes for the franchise – and hinted at the possibility of an ape-on-ape war.
“We’re still not there,” he says, in reference to the point at which the original 1968 Planet of the Apes film starts.
But while there’s no plan to remake the original Planet of the Apes, Reeves and the wider team on the franchise are working hard to make sure the rebooted series of films correlates to the existing universe. And while War is perhaps the closest of all three new movies in terms of homages and references to the original films, that means there’s still a lot of ground to cover.
“Bad Ape is really… he’s critical to this story but he’s actually a seed that’s planted that sort of says that… that’s a widening up of the world,” explains Reeves. “It’s not just Caesar’s apes, there are other apes elsewhere – and those apes haven’t had the benefit of Caesar’s leadership. And so who knows what they’re like, and they certainly wouldn’t necessarily have the level of empathy and integrity that he’s tried to instill in his family of apes. So future conflicts might not just be human and ape.”
Reeves is interested in exploring our own natures further, which the rebooted Apes franchise allows him to do.
“You’re looking into an ape and you’re recognizing yourself. We’re holding up a mirror to who we are. That’s what I’d want to continue to explore,” he says.
“What’s fun is that the original film represents an end point and once you know the ending, the story stops being about what happens at the end, it starts being about how do you get from here to there. And that is how we get to explore things about who we are and our nature – because it’s about character, it’s about motivation, it’s about philosophy.”
Reeves points out that the world still looks so different from the world presented in the 1968 Planet of the Apes, in which humans are kept as cattle by the dominant apes, who wear clothes – a concept we’re introduced to in War through Bad Ape.
“The world of Rise looks nothing like that movie, but neither do the worlds of Dawn or War,” says Reeves. “Caesar’s apes don’t look like those apes. So, how do we get from here to there? What transpires that turns them into the kind of captors of the humans that they are? Because Caesar’s apes still have much more empathy than the apes of the original, so it’s a journey that I think could be really cool to explore.”
War For the Planet of the Apes hits screens in the UK on July 11 and in the US on July 14.