Through the first two films of Fox’s Planet of the Apes prequel series, fans have witnessed the beginning of Earth’s slide towards a future dominated by apes while Andy Serkis’ Caesar served as a bridge between humanity and his own kind. But after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar may be done looking for a peaceful solution. And now there’s an all-out war for the fate of the world.
At New York Comic Con, Serkis was joined by director Matt Reeves and producer Dylan Clark as they dropped the highly anticipated first footage from War for the Planet of the Apes. There are some pretty big spoilers ahead, so you should skip this post if you don’t want to know what’s in store! You’ve been warned!
The first thing that was screened for the enthusiastic crowd was an extended scene from early in the movie, which was in pretty rough shape. There were a few finished shots of the apes, as well as unfinished shots and even the primary actors in mo-cap suits. But the story of the scene and the power of the performances were conveyed even at this stage of production.
In the footage, Caesar rode on horseback with three other apes, including Maurice and Rocket, as they found a human survivor at a cabin. After catching the man unarmed, Caesar shot the man dead when he reached for his gun. This elicited a visible shock from the other apes, which suggested that Caesar has become a lot more violent and unforgiving in the time since Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
As the apes investigated the cabin, they discovered the man’s daughter, who was scared out of her mind. Maurice comforted the girl and noted that she appeared to be mute. Fans of the original films should note that most of humanity had lost their ability to speak by the time of Planet of the Apes. This is a pretty big piece of foreshadowing for humanity’s fate in the future. Maurice clearly took pity on the girl, and insisted that she be taken with them for her own survival, even over Caesar’s objections. In the end, they rode off together, with the girl holding on to Maurice’s body.
The trailer was less linear with its storytelling, as it began with a group of soldiers attempting to assassinate Caesar in a cave…and he just wasn’t having it. Woody Harrelson’s human antagonist, the Colonel was introduced as he repelled out of a waterfall, with Caesar in hot pursuit.
Harrelson’s voice was heard over the remaining footage, as the Colonel related the story of how humanity created the smart apes and that his army was preparing for its last stand to prevent Earth from becoming a “planet of the apes.” Yes, he actually said that. The scenes glimpsed included Caesar’s fellow apes presenting him with human prisoners of war, interspersed with battle sequences between the two sides and a climactic scene in which Caesar appeared to be on the verge of defeat at the Colonel’s hands…and it ended with the Colonel seemingly about to execute Caesar.
As of press time, 20th Century Fox has not yet released the trailer, but it may happen any day now. War for the Planet of the Apes will be released on July 14, 2017.