Woody Harrelson Enlists As Lead Human Villain For War Of The Planet Of The Apes

Actor Woody Harrelson talks about HBO's "True Detective" during the Winter 2014 TCA presentations in Pasadena

Fox has secured Woody Harrelson to play the chief human antagonist in its upcoming War of the Planet of the Apes feature, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Hunger Games and True Detective actor is on board to play the Colonel, who is primed to have an integral role in the threequel’s narrative – a narrative that is essentially in total lockdown at this point in time.

After guiding the ape colony to the top of the food chain in last year’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, director Matt Reeves is set to return for the 2017 blockbuster, while Mark Bomback is also back on board to pen the script. Teasing an all-out war between the apes and the remnants of the human population in San Francisco, Reeves’ follow-up was met with critical and commercial approval, though this conflict will play out in full for the filmmaker’s next outing at the helm.

As for Harrelson’s casting, today’s news is a major coup for the studio, and we envision the acting vet assuming a similar role that Gary Oldman portrayed in Dawn. But the undisputed crux of Fox’s rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise has been Andy Serkis’ simian, Caesar. From a humble lab experiment to bona fide war chief, the character has witnessed a marked evolution of the course of the first two films, and War of the Planet of the Apes will only see that arc reach a crescendo, with director Reeves even going so far as to say that Caesar will become a messianic figure during the threequel in the vein of Moses.

Expect all-out warfare when War of the Planet of the Apes marches into theaters on July 14, 2017.