Even though the critically-acclaimed Planet of the Apes trilogy helmed first by Rupert Wyatt and then Matt Reeves only drew to a close in 2017, a reboot is already in the works following Disney’s acquisition of the rights as part of their Fox takeover. The Maze Runner’s Wes Ball is currently attached to direct, in what was one of the first properties announced to be getting a reinvention under the ownership of the Mouse House.
While it may seem a little unnecessary to be returning to the Planet of the Apes well so soon, let’s not forget that the franchise has been around for over half a century and has already been through countless iterations. The 1968 original spawned four sequels, a live-action TV series and an animated show as well as Tim Burton’s 2001 re-imagining, and Ball’s tenth big screen installment will just be the latest in a long line of adaptations for the enduringly popular sci-fi property.
In a recent interview, the filmmaker admitted that while the Coronavirus pandemic brought development on the latest Apes outing to a halt, it hasn’t completely stopped the creative process.
“Production is shut down. But we were kind of unique, me and my company and crew. We were in the development phase, so we’re writing… What I found a little bit myself, is that I’ve been incredibly bursting with ideas in this time. I guess maybe because of being locked up. I have just had tons of inspiration lately on show ideas and the current stuff we’re working on.”
Ball was also keen to stress that his Planet of the Apes won’t be a full-blown reboot of the franchise, but will pick up where Matt Reeves’ War left off and continue the story of Caesar’s legacy, and he seems fully aware of the expectations that come with following up one of modern cinema’s greatest trilogies.
“Caesar is one of the great movie characters that we’ll have throughout time. So what do you do to follow that up, right? At the same time, I wasn’t interested in doing a part four either. We want to also do our own thing. We have a take. We have a way of staying in the universe that was created before us, but we’re also opening ourselves up in being able to do some really cool new stuff. I’ll say this for fans of the original three, don’t worry, you’re in good hands.”
Ball knows that he’s under huge pressure to make sure that his Planet of the Apes movie lives up to a trilogy that made almost $1.7 billion at the box office and scored almost universal praise from both fans and critics alike, while also standing on its own merits without seeming like a cash-grab designed to prolong the franchise’s shelf life for a little bit longer, and with the backing of Disney, there’s every chance that it could turn out to be another huge success for the brand’s 21st Century resurgence.