It’s been a busy few weeks in Hollywood circles, and not least because of the impending trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But beyond the Stormtroopers and X-Wings, there are a number of tentpole releases easing into production, with the likes of The Conjuring: The Enfield Poltergeist and Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island leading the pack.
Rubbing shoulders with those new-starts is Matt Reeves’ threequel War of the Planet of the Apes, and the director took to Twitter this past weekend to share the first set photo as filming got underway in Vancouver, Canada.
— Matt Reeves (@mattreevesLA) October 17, 2015
Over the past month or so, 20th Century Fox has flung out the casting net as it filled up some of the film’s leading parts. In terms of the human side, the studio has locked down True Detective and The Hunger Games‘ Woody Harrelson – on board to play a villain known as the Colonel – while Gabriel Chavarria has also boarded the project.
But if history has taught us anything across the course of Fox’s rejuvenated tentpole, it’s that these films really belong to the simians and, in particular, Andy Serkis’ messianic Caesar. He’ll reprise his defining role for War of the Planet of the Apes, and only last week we learned of Dallas Buyers Club‘s Steve Zahn joining the sequel as a fellow ape.
With a 2017 release date in place, there’s still an awful lot we don’t know about Reeves’ sequel, but it appears that neither the director nor studio are treating War as the final installment. Indeed, it was Serkis who claimed that the franchise has enough mileage for any number of follow-ups so long as the core story of nature reclaiming the planet remained compelling, though the franchise’s longevity will be put to the test when War of the Planet of the Apes marches into theaters in time for July 14, 2017.