The first week of December 2019 included some exciting news via The Hollywood Reporter: A new Planet of the Apes movie is in the works. Following Disney’s merger with 20th Century Fox in spring 2019, it was unclear what Disney’s intentions were for Fox’s more adult and R-rated offerings (see: all the curiosity over Deadpool’s future). Now, with this news, it’s clear Disney isn’t afraid to reassess the more adult Fox movies they’ve inherited and are opting to tackle one of the most familiar and crowd-pleasing IPs of the bunch.
There have been plenty of movies in the Planet of the Apes franchise already. The first, 1968’s Planet of the Apes is adapted from Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel La Planète des singes served at the source material for the 1968 big screen adaptation. From there, eight more films fall under the Planet of the Apes umbrella: four more in the 20th-century franchise, a 2001 remake, and the 2010s trilogy. Thus, the proverbial pump is primed for another Planet of the Apes movie, but what can we expect from it? Here’s what we know.
When is the release date for the new Planet of the Apes movie?
Since this project was only announced in early December, there is still no release date set for the new Planet of the Apes movie. But — but! — just because there’s no release date right now doesn’t mean we can’t do just a wee bit of guessing.
Back in November, Disney announced a massive schedule of release dates through 2023 for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Fox movies — essentially accounting for every one of the House of Mouse’s holdings save Lucasfilm. Given the sheer amount of dates blocked out in 2021, 2022, and 2023 for Fox, it’s a given that one of those will be awarded to the new Planet of the Apes movie.
Realistically, this movie will likely be scheduled for a summer or winter 2022 slot (per Deadline Fox has June 10, November 11, and December 23 secured) because there’s no reason not to capitalize on those packed holiday theaters. Additionally, 2022 makes sense considering how much time it will take to put this movie through live-action filming and lengthy post-production to make sure all those apes look good onscreen.
What is the title of the new Planet of the Apes movie?
This new Planet of the Apes movie is still untitled. Regardless of the title picked for this new installment in the Fox franchise, it will include the phrase Planet of the Apes since it has always been the common denominator across every film.
Historically, the titles of each Planet of the Apes installment has been pretty telling about what to expect, whether it’s 1971’s Escape From the Planet of the Apes (the third of the original five movies released between 1968 and 1973) or 2017’s War For the Planet of the Apes or, simply, Planet of the Apes, the title used for the 1968 film starring Charlton Heston and again in 2001 for the Tim Burton remake. We should expect similarly telling things from the title for the new movie when it’s finally announced.
Who is directing the new Planet of the Apes movie?
Per THR’s exclusive, Wes Ball has been tapped to direct the new Planet of the Apes movie. To date, Ball is best known for directing all three Maze Runner films (The Maze Runner, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Maze Runner: The Death Cure) adapted from the dystopian YA series of the same name starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelairo, and Will Poulter. Ball has a pre-existing relationship with Disney after he was initially brought into the fold back to adapt a special-effects take on Boom! Comics’ Mouse Guard series before the studio chose to shelve it.
What is the plot of the new Planet of the Apes?
We don’t know anything about the plot of the new Planet of the Apes yet, but that’s mostly down to the fact this project very recently got the green light. Even so, it’s not like we don’t have a decent idea of what to expect, right?
The basic gist of the 1968 pic — which has served as ground zero for basically every film to come after it — goes like this: an astronaut from our present-day gets lost in space and crashes on a strange planet that is governed and populated with apes who talk, have developed cultural practices reminiscent of the human way of life, and have also enslaved humans. The astronaut comes to realize he somehow went centuries into the future while lost in space and has actually crash-landed on Earth. The Planet of the Apes series from the ‘60s and ‘70s starts here and continues the story while the 2001 remake focuses on the 1968 film and revamps it.
The most divergent of the Planet of the Apes movies is the trilogy released between 2011 and 2017 (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and War For the Planet of the Apes) starring Andy Serkis as Caesar, the leader of the apes. These films create a different origin story for how apes came to speak, assemble, and eventually prevail over humans. Rather than humans being responsible for their own downfall after taking advantage of Earth (as the book and 1968 movie tease), in this new trilogy a version of man-made treatment for Alzheimer’s proves fatal to humans but helpful to apes and decimates the human population as apes evolve.
Is there a trailer for the newPlanet of the Apes?
Since this new movie was only announced in early December, there are zero trailers, photos, or other materials attached to the project. Because this new Planet of the Apes movie marks a new beginning as the Fox franchise will now be filtered (to unknown and varying degrees) through parent company Disney, things like scheduling the release of the trailer will go through that filter, too. With all this in mind, it’s tough to even conjecture at this point when a trailer will for sure arrive, especially without a release date in place.
Is the upcoming Planet of the Apes movie the start of a new series?
It’s tough to tell what Fox and Disney’s plans for Planet of the Apes are at this point in time. While it’s certainly a big deal that Disney is taking a closer look at one of Fox’s biggest, most profitable, and most beloved IPs, making a new Planet of the Apes movie could go in any number of directions. History tells us that there is room for this new movie to either develop into a new series (as we saw with the first films of the ‘60s and 2010’s franchises, respectively) or it could flatline should it be a critical and financial flop, as was the case in 2001.
Will Andy Serkis return for the newPlanet of the Apes?
As of early December 2019, Serkis has not signed back on for this Planet of the Apes film but there are a few good reasons for this. First off, Serkis is set to play Alfred Pennyworth in Matt Reeves’ movie The Batman which is currently slated for a 2021 release. The pair previously worked together on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War For the Planet of the Apes, so it will be fun for fans to see how their chemistry unfolds on the playground of yet another oft-visited, beloved IP. As such, it’s unclear if Serkis has room in his schedule right now for another massive project. Secondly, we still don’t know what the plot for the new Planet of the Apes movie actually is, so it’s unclear if Serkis’ character, Caesar, would even figure into the movie which would rope him in again.
Would it be cool to see Serkis return? Hell yeah. But would it be just as cool to see an entirely new cast populate this world and bring this sci-fi story to life. Absolutely.