Jul 17 2014 9:00am

Three Possible Directions for the Next Planet of the Apes

Caesar Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

After a fantastic opening weekend both critically and financially, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is obviously poised to bring back Caesar and company in a few years. A sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is definitely happening, and will be directed AND written by Matt Reeves. Recently, Reeves dropped some hints as to the shape of the next film. But what about some specifics?

Here are three scenarios that might fit into the new Apes mythos.

Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes

Essentially a Real Remake of the Original Film in the New Continuity

I think this is the best bet. The original Apes films sort of haphazardly told the “story” of how a “planet of the apes,” was formed, but in reverse. The continuity issues of these older movies is a little like one of those cartoon trains where the tracks are being built just moments before the train hits them. The third and fourth films—Escape from The Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, respectively—reveal that the ape-dominated future-Earth visited by Col. Taylor in the first film was actually created through a time-travel paradox involving the child of future-apes Zira and Cornelius.

The new movies have explained this “rise” and eventually “dawn” of the planet ruled by apes in a direct, linear fashion. So, now that we’ve seen the sequence of events that convinces us (fairly well, anyway) that the apes are in charge, why not jump forward say 100 years for a set-up straight from the original film? An astronaut from a somewhat contemporary (2000s) space mission could return to Earth Buck Rogers style, 100+ years after they are supposed to, and BAM it’s Caesar’s planet of the apes, where humans have been totally dominated.

Obviously, Caesar would be dead by this point, but that’s okay! Andy Serkis can play Cornelius who, in this continuity, will be Caesar’s descendent. This idea also jibes with director Reeves in the io9 interview when he said this:

“...he’s the Caesar that shall begin other Caesars. Given that we know the ending of the story and we know that Caesar has these ties to humans and to apes, and that everything gets really turned upside down by the world of the ’68 film…”

This is a little weird, simply because the original Caesar from the old movies is actually, thanks to time travel, probably his own ancestor and descendant at the same time. But in the new apes movies, it’s not like that, meaning what would set this hypothetical new film apart from the original Planet of the Apes is that our sympathies would be more split between the human astronaut (or astronauts) and the apes, because we know these apes. Also, this sequel wouldn’t require an audience member to have seen Dawn or Rise, but would make the experience even better if they had.


Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Go Even Further Into the Future (Like WAY Further)

Or what if things got even crazier? What if this sequel went like 2,000 years into the future, and apes had colonized other planets? To the point where some apes on other planets didn’t even believe Earth existed, and that humans were a far-fetched concept. I know this sounds a little silly, but it’s actually not dissimilar to the framing mechanism of the original novel. There, two chimpanzees are flying around in space and are incredulous at the notion that a human being could have written such a crazy story. Of course in the novel, the planet of the apes isn’t Earth (initially), but Sonar.

Perhaps this sequel could be titled Return to the Planet of the Apes and could feature space-faring apes who live on another planet, returning to Earth to check on the legends of Caesar and all of his cronies. This movie would NOT have to feature humans at all if it didn’t want to, and would be a massive triumph if somehow it was taken seriously. To make things even more rad, imagine if these space-apes were in some kind of war with other space-apes, and the “ape not kill ape” thing becomes a sort of religious truth they’re seeking in order to unite all of ape-kind across the universe!


James Franco

Pick Up Where this Movie Ends, But with a Twist!

And that twist is James Franco is somehow alive and now, and a bad guy. I mean, we never actually saw him die in the previous film, and bringing back Franco would provide the movie with some solid emotional weight, particularly if he goes anti-ape. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was mostly about the apes, and the humans played second fiddle. This worked really well, but I think if some human on ape conflict is central to the next movie, it needs to get personal. Part of the reason we couldn’t connect with Gary Oldman’s crazy-person antics in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was because we didn’t know the character at all. If Franco comes back, twenty years older, and totally insane, maybe a showdown between he and Caesar could get awesome, but also, emotional. Just to be safe though, give Franco a robot arm and a laser-beam eye.

Okay, commenters: now, FIGHT LIKE APES! Actually, just tell me what you think! Do you want to see a sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? Do you like these ideas? What do you hope will happen? Please, please tell me ONE of you wants to see Franco with a robot arm. Please.

Ryan Britt is a longtime contributor to

Mordicai Knode
1. mordicai
I haven't seen these movies. I know, I know, I will!

Caveat out of the way, there seem to be a lot of uplifted primate species in the mix, from the trailers. So my fourth direction would be: ape caste system. With humans in it. A Planet of the Apes where human is just another kind of ape.
Kit Case
2. wiredog
I suspect it will involve gorilla warfare, as a commentary on the currently winding down war on (some) terror.
Thomas Thatcher
3. StrongDreams
If you go the future route, you've got a couple variations to explore.

1. harmonious human/ape colony sends expedition back to old earth and finds it dominated by (apes/humans) who treat (humans/apes) as slaves.

2. ape colony sends expedition to find that old earth has been reconqured by humans.

3. human colony sends expedition to old earth to find earth has been reconquered by apes (heston reboot -- least interesting to my mind).
David Lomax
4. dlomax
Far future ape scientists recreating old-style humans from DNA fragments in what is intended to be a theme park. Some of the humans get loose, and two clever ape kids have to turn the electricity back on to get the perimeter fence working again. Also Jeff Ape-blum talks about chaos theory and a glass of water has ripples.
Kate Elliott
5. KateElliott
Maybe the future will have women and/or female apes in it! I can hope!
Gary Himes
6. Gary Himes
I'm hoping for Dawn of the Dead on the Planet of the Apes in which humans and apes must team up to fight a zombie apocalypse.

The tagline could be, "Ape shall not eat ape".
David Lomax
7. dlomax
@ Kate Elliott: Bechdel Test of the Planet of the Apes!
(Which is to say: totally agreed.) . Added in case the Internet's irony-fairies remove all traces of supportive sarcasm from my post.
Ben Johnston
8. AlcairNovall
I'm totally on board with the whole 'Franco returns for the next one as the villain' (though maybe not with the robot arm). Though I feel like it'd be better if they were fighting the whole time without revealing who the human antagonist is, and hints have been dropped that the bad guy knows Ceasar from pre-Simian-Flu days, and at the end the bad guy is killed by Ceasar who pulls the mask off to reveal that NO! He killed his bestest buddy from back in the day! It'd be interesting.
Delos Rifenburgh
9. KaijuGamer
Actually, I think 'Escape', 'Conquest', and 'Battle' completely negated (or altered) 'Planet' and 'Beneath'. It was mention that the first talking ape was a gorilla (named Aldo, if I remember correctly), and by the end of 'Battle' apes and humans are living peacefully - not in the bad savage/society way of the first 2 films. Now, 'Planet' takes place a very long time (I believe it was 2 or 3 thousand years later) after 'Battle' so anything can happen.

As such, I would love to see a reimaging of the first movie with the 'Icarus' (mentioned in 'Rise') returning to Earth long after the apes have officially taken over. It would really dove-tail nicely with the continuity.
Gary Himes
10. ams
Please bring James back into it. No one cares about the rest of these people. Besides, he's the best looking character in the franchise and the ONLY reason I saw the first one.
Gary Himes
11. Random22
I'd be most unhappy if they brought Franco back. His character played fast and loose with medical and research ethics and ended up dooming humanity. If anything he was worse than the black CEO that got pushed off the bridge, in fact I'm upset he did not also get a karmic death in the first movie. He either got the death sentence at his trial, or went to jail and got shivved first night there.

The first movie had a throwaway bit about a manned Mars mission, which seemed awfully sequel hook-y to me. That has to be a set up, but I think the next movie will be the full out war between humanity and apes. We've had two origin movies worth of build up to that war, so if they fail to deliver then they are just pulling a fast one.

Incidentally, is this the new normal now for movies? Having two origin story movies? Star Trek did it, not moving onto the Five Year mission until movie 3, Apes have done it, looks like DC are doing it with Necksnapper of Steel and Origin of New Batman v Superman. Even Gareth Edwards is shaping up the next Godzilla movie as yet another feature length cocktease for some other monster.
Gary Himes
12. Jasmin. Martinez
Yeah I would love James Franco back, But not as a Bad Guy, but as maybe a perisoner from the miltarey that ahead to San Fransco, And While Franco help them to study the apes, to keep getting him self kill and trying to get Ceaser killed. It will be wonderful to have James Franco Back but not as a bad Guy
Gary Himes
13. Stephen Caissie
One thing you couldn't do is the story from the original '68 movie. Think about it: the whole premise of that movie, from the title onwards, was to make you think it was somehow a different world that evolved in a similar fashion to Earth, but with the order of primates flipped. The reveal at the end may have been hinted at, but for most people at the time, it came as a shock. Given how much a part of our pop culture that scene with Heston on the beach is, and given the way they've clearly set up the whole premise in these first two films, the only ones who would be surprised to learn that the "planet of the apes" is really – surprise! – Earth after all would be the Icarus astronauts. We, the audience, would already know. What fun would that be? Why do you think Tim Burton tied himself in knots trying to create a twist ending for his version? Nope, that ship has long sailed.

Not saying I'd actually want to see it, but robo-Franco would be better.
Gary Himes
14. Lacygirl
I definitely think bringing Franco back is a must!
I was hopeful we was going to be in this one. I don't want to see him as the vilan though. There doesn't need to be such a jump into the future again. Making this into a prequel of how they got to where the original Planet of the Apes is definitely cliche, but if James Franco is involved somehow where we get to see his character reunited with Caesar then I believe that could work. Then and only then would it be acceptable.
Gary Himes
15. Honoria
I personally think that picking up where the original series left off (several thousand years later, where apes rule the world) would be a rather interesting take. You could even fit Cornelius in as Cesar's descendent!
Gary Himes
16. Dr. Maximus
I hope the next movie starts with a pair of eyes in the same way that the 'dawn' started (and ended). Which pair of eyes you might add? Those of the statue of Liberty of course... Pan back to a desolate post-apocolyptic landscape, Apes ride in horseback and after that I'll settle for anything.
Gary Himes
17. Nomisreprah
Has everyone forgotten the already remade planet of the apes in 2001, surely they can't make another one of the same storyline that would be so wrong. This needs to go in another direction, if it was just about a battle between apes and humans that would be just another war movie if anything just to make money, so the director needs to think long and hard about the next one. I loved all these movies, including the 2001 remake, so I have high expectations of the next planet of the apes movie.
Gary Himes
18. Win
No bringing dead characters back! Franco stays dead. Koba stays dead. Lithgow stays dead. Oldman stays dead.
The third movie should start by showing the aftermath of the battle between the soldiers from the north and the apes, revealing that the apes won. Caesar's power is cemented, and more apes come to the Bay area. Eventually, the apes send out messengers to find all of the apes they can, and set up communications via ham radio or telegraph (this would be the first technological step for the apes). They force captured humans to teach them about all sorts of devices (cars, hydro power, electricity, etc). Caesar views old tapes or newspapers about the missing American spaceship, and realizes that they could come back one day, which could be trouble for the apes. He writes the laws of the apes, and disavows humans as savage animals, and decrees that they are not allowed to speak (which, over time, eventually leads to their loss of speech). This takes us one-third of the way into a 3 hour movie.
Flash forward nearly 2000 years, one of Caesar's descendents is head of the ape council along with Dr. Zaius, another is Cornelius. The human ship crashes, Colonel Taylor and his crew are captured, mayhem ensues, "Get your paws off me you damn dirty ape!", all astonauts die except Taylor, "Damn you all to hell!", Taylor escapes with hot mute girl Nova to become new Adam and Eve, ...*plot twist* of Taylors crew is a carrier of an alien space virus but doesn't know it. The virus is harmful to apes only...ape scientists call it the sapien flu.
Gary Himes
19. Cerita
I agree with 18,sounds good to me.
Gary Himes
Gary Himes
21. Girlygirl
I like the first approach; revision of the 1968 movie as the sequel and keeping Cesar alive. I definitely could not connect with Gary Oldman's character because I missed James Franco. I like the idea of bringing him back, but I think he should be anti-human and sort of messed up like Koba. If there would be any conflict between Cesar and Will, I would like to see Cesar shocked at Will's conduct toward his own species. I'd like to see Will taking revenge on the human race because he never got over his father and he never recovered from what they did to Cesar and his mother at GenSys.
Gary Himes
22. Scottm4321
No, no and no. Pickup where the last one left off and have Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Apes win but Ceasar is killed, leaving a deep dested hatred for humanity in the apes. After that do the one with Taylor landing in the future.
Gary Himes
23. Kofi
Not another war movie....
The beginning shows how maurice son tells other apes how the apes and the military finally make peace.... and the apes were able to develop and use technology. Blue Eye is the new leader... Apes are all over USA.
Humans are in the cold north and scattered around Africa and Asia...
They don't fight anymore...

Now bring in either the space ship coming back.. or a ape and human in love or make it a futuristic and natural envirenment and place a great plot in the movie... something unexpected...
And also show how apes interact with monkeys or other animals...but not again another war between humans and apes, otherwise both populations would be too fragile to sustain a high technologic level or maintain it...
Gary Himes
24. Andrew Wells
I think a remake of Planet of the apes would be great and bring such a fresh flavour. I wasn't alive during the films first run but with better technology, it would be a great story!!
Gary Himes
25. Dušan
We, actually, don't know if Coba is really dead...
Gary Himes
26. Defiance
An ape and a human in love? That would be SO WRONG in MANY MANY WAYS! That's just a little bit too deep, I would never watch something like that, not even if I was a captive in an ape camp and was forced to watch it. I agree with some comments where they should start where they left off, they need to tell us what REALLY ACTUALLY happened on eatth because apparently none of the other movies before this has. It shows us that apes are more superior and dominant but not how they came to be. Unlike the 2001 movie where apes ruled the planet by being sent there and it wasn't earth. Don't limit this to a trilogy where you jump too far ahead of yourselves and fuck it up. Leave room so you can fix or add on stuff you have left out.
Gary Himes
27. David a johnson
I would like to see a future where the apes coexist peacefully with the human. Not a depressing end like in the first planet of the apes for the apes would develop into humans given long enough
Gary Himes
28. Vornie
There is another possibility of linking the current movies to a remake of the 1967 Planet of the Apes, and explaining how humans became mute, dumb animals (the original story was set 2,000 years from now). The simian flu virus wiped out humanity, and the small band of survivors were immune. What if there were other survivors, people that had become ill and recovered, but the virus has destroyed/damaged the higher brain functions such as speech, higher intelligence etc, and has become part of the genome (viruses can introduce new genes). it has become an inheritable trait passed to offspring, in much the same way that the intelligence trait was passed along to ape offspring. This would neatly explain the degradation of the human species to mute animals, with apes of the future time being unaware of the past glories of humanity. The other survivors of humanity in San Francisco, would become the evolved mutant humans of the 1960’s film, Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

The only thing I would miss is that now the story is set in the San Fran area, there would be no statue of liberty ‘reveal’ – a fantastic scene. I think the storyline of the original, where the astronauts are not aware of where they are could still fly. But there are many other possibilities. As an aside, in the 1960's we didn't raise an eyebrow when people on other planets spoke English, and the characters still didn't realise they were actually on Earth.

How do you explain the astronauts being away for 2,000 years? Perhaps as follows: A mission to Mars (as hinted at in 'Rise') is not far (in space terms), but if there had been an accident where the automated systems kicked in, the ‘cryo sleep’ was locked, and the craft was accelerating away from danger (as the last computer log would conveniently show), after 2,000 years there is the possibility of having made it to the nearest star system (If the craft accelerated to say 400 miles per second, in 2,000 years it would have covered the required 25.6 trillion miles to Alpha Centauri), even though for the story they would of course be on Earth. This would avoid having to talk about warps in space etc. (in the original film they were actually on an interstellar mission).

Just a thought.

I was a great fan of the original movies, I saw them as a child when they were first released.
Gary Himes
29. aintong
This may have been touched on above I didn't read all of the comments... In addition to the information we recieve in "Rise" that the first manned mission to Mars launches... you also get a small easter egg flash of a newspaper with the headline "LOST IN SPACE" - Apparently showing that the first manned mission was lost or vanished somehow...

It would be my bet that the next movie will be the 1st possibility in the article: A reimagining of the original movie, where the "lost" mission makes it's way to earth hundreds or possibly a thousand years (like in the original) in the future.

I also put my money that the next movie will be titled simply "The Planet of the Apes"
Gary Himes
30. aintong
Oh and to comment 17 above... Although (In my opinion anyway) the Mark Walburg Planet of the Apes is an entertaining movie to watch. It does not belong in the pantheon of Ape movies... It is a complete departure and should be ignored. Remember, The remade "The Incredible Hulk" for the same reason.
Gary Himes
31. dutchgamer
I like a whole different ending.

*there are many continents of humans over the globe (usa is not the world) only one tribe of apes.

*it is very likely survival rates in europe are much higher than usa (because black death gene that is)

*even if 99,9% of all humans globally died, that leaves 7 million humans.

-production facility's are largely in tact, so society will bounce back in that decade to a functional society.

-growthrates will be made the priority (woman marry at 12, man at 16)
(this will remove some of the freedom humans are used to, the revival of mankind will lead to a "1984" or "brave new world" kind of society.

this will lead to a healthy population growthrate for humans, with every woman having 15 children between her 12th and 40th birthday.
halve of them will die off because of harsh conditions and forced elimination of the weak.

This leads to an annual population growth number for humans of 25%
so already in the era of dawn of the apes, human population is back at 65 million.

All this growth happend mostly in regions far away from where the apes live. -> and because of rebuilding, no help will come, so the apes will mostly fight whats left of the usa, canada and mexico.

Apes have a much less ideal population rate, so even while their numbers have increased to a couple thousand in usa, they are NO match to the sher size of the human population, not even that of america.

so usa uses it's remaining nukes against the apes.. apes get almost whiped out, usa population growth drops to negative(because nucleair wasteland) and remaining usa people flee to europe, africa and asia.. the apes move to south-america, where they find far friendlier humans.. ape-refugees go live in the jungle...

and there our conflict starts... 100 years after dawn of the apes..
europe has revived.. it's society has now regained most of it's population numbers, as well as it's techonology.
it is allied with asia... and forms a massive euroasian techocratic state.
Concepts of individualism and freedom are a thing of the past there.

In africa.. society has bounced back somewhat, but less than in europe (because of illness there without european medical support has more change to run amok) africa therefore has become more modern than it is now.. but far less dence populated, it actual has a couple of respectable tribes in a loose federaton. (survivalism has shocked them beyong barbarism, no more dictators for them)

australia, has revived, but became primive, the aboriginals prooved to be much better suited for the post-apocaliptic world in australia, so they reverted to a fairly succesfull trive-based life, with most of the population now being aboriginal.

the big conflict, is when the eurasian technocracy discoveres there are apes living in south-america and that will turn into a big war with the south americans defending their long tim allies.. that helped them rebuild, and euroasians bound to perform genocide.

in the end of the movie, with assistance from africa, the south-amercians, succed in repelling the eureasians placing them under new manegment, and starting an occupation aimed and bringing freedom and other human values back to euroeasia, but sadly this is not obtained before the last sentient apes are whiped out.

So no 'planet of the apes" will rise, but rather a far more darker sentiment.. because the apes could have helped humans refinding their lost souls.. and now are no more.
Gary Himes
32. Dan Loandre
Cornelius wasn't from a hundred years in the future. He was from 2,000 years in the future. And the novel's planet is Soror, not Sonar. Otherwise, great article.
Gary Himes
33. cary david hoffson
I want to see the statue of liberty with out it their be no planet of the apes to make him know that he is back on earth or the people seeing the movie when why make them again for if this is on earth that apes take over the earth by apes then what for. and for the 1968 movie also what for what do you think of that why go on making them in the first place.
Gary Himes
34. whenuapai
James Franco back as a bad guy would be ridiculous
Gary Himes
35. Danny 93
if you watched all of the planet of the apes films its great but the thing us bring james franco back in the new one and put him as the bad guy would be a BAD OPTION down and rise of the planet of the apes are great i just would not kill of the other acts from the other film like in down and rise ..... james if i was making this film i would leave him out of the film or if he come back in to the new planet of the apes he should join with caesar .. i relly really hope them to do not fight eatcher like james be the new robocop i think its would be SHEWPID film if that come out for the new planet of the apes i hope they make it wise
Gary Himes
36. Trent Tate
I would like to see the first scenario of the original huge planet of the apes fan!
Gary Himes
37. Joe R
Your first idea seems most logicial since they did have that omninous Manned Mars Mission newscast in the first movie.
Gary Himes
38. Bob DeSimone
I think the best thing to do for the franchise would be to have the third movie to begin with, but not focus on the war with humans. The war should be a victory for the apes and the remaining humans would be prisoners who were kept alive to teach apes human technology. The bulk of the movie could be about how the Apes colonize the world and possible conflicts could be seeing how their 'ape code' holds up with greater size and power and Cesar at conflict with his own ideology. End the trilogy there and start another one with the space narrative that would start with a combination of the 1968 PotA and Return to the Planet of the Apes. Oh and James Franco with a robot arm.
Gary Himes
39. berto
They should begin a sequel straight after dawn showing the battle with the military from up north vs the apes. Koba should survive and make his own army of apes against ceasar and the humans. Not all apes are respectful of ceasar due to the suffering and huge lossea of family and are happy to join koba. Ceasar refuses to fight the humans because of his fondness of them but tries to hold peace talks with them claiming they can live together. However, as the humans dont trust them, it falls on deaf ears and ceasar gets shot dead. Ceasars death causes anguish in his son. Because ceasar is dead, his son now leads the apes but he is thirsty for revenge against the military. Koba offers ceasars son a chance to unite and wipe out the humans together. He agrees and so the apes kill the miltary Ceasars son only wanted the military dead and then to live on in peace with nomore conflict (he is also compassionate to humans for once saving his dads life. Koba however, doesnt want to stop until all humans are dead or held captive. Ceasars son doesnt want this and confronts koba. Koba kills him and becomes leader of the apes (his plan all along). Koba now begins a full blown war with the humans and enslaves them for information about human technology. He wants to use this tech to help find and recruit other apes aswell as hunt and enslave all humans around the world. After a long and tiring war, he succeeds amd thus becoming the leader of the earth. The leader of the planet of the apes. This could leave the original pota as the sequel or they coul make a new trilogy or remake of the original.
Gary Himes
40. tori krazy
The first movie was heartwarming and the second was action packed. I feel like not everyone could like both movies because of this. If they made the next movie both heartwarming and violent it would appeal to many more people. They could make it heartwarming by bringing Will back and action packed by making Will bad. Will couldn't be bad forever though, and he couldn't be bad bad choice. Perhaps they brought back the selective service act and he was forced into the military. The apes and humans would fight just like the end of the last movie was leading up to, but Will would team up with the apes to end the war. The movie after that could connect to the original and make a very interesting end, unfortunately all of the apes from the first movie are getting old, and the more movies they make the more likely it is for them to die. The fifth could involve them being too old to fight, except for their children of course, and end with no fighting, just the peace that is the planet of the apes.

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