Thu
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 Tor.com.

24 comments
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*...one 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
20. KOZMIK
ABSOLUTELY HAVE FRANCO BACK AS THE MAD SCIENTIST BELOW WITH THE NUKE. A SURPRISE ENCOUNTER BETWEEN HIM & CEASAR MAKES FOR A GOOD PLOT & STORY, WHILE WAR IS ABOVE AS THE NORTH MILTARY & APES ARE BATTLING IT OUT!
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....
GO DEEPER THAN THAT!
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!!

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