Could There Be Another 'Planet of the Apes' Movie?
What else could there be to tell in the 'Planet of the Apes' narrative?
In 2011, cinemas were hit with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which made a thrilling trilogy. The series came to a conclusive end in 2017 with War for the Planet of the Apes, completing the story of our beloved protagonist Caesar. The film was a massive success and could potentially be the darkest film from the entire Planet of the Apes movie franchise. However, could there be another film?
The 2011 reboot of Planet of the Apes naturally took a lot from the original 1968 series. The reboot answered many questions and filled in the gaps from the original series which were left untold. For example, in the original series, there was no secure reason as to why or how apes had become intelligent, though this had no real effect on the success the series received. Rise was able to answer this for us, by creating a scientific reason as to how apes gained their intelligence. The reason not only made sense but was shown realistically, which probably contributes to the success of the film, due to audiences wanting secure reasons for every occurrence in narratives they read and watch.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to Rise, introduced us to the Simian Flu. This was lightly touched upon during the post-credit scene in Rise. In the original series, we are informed of a plague that is the reason for humans becoming mute. However, how the plague started was an extremely vague concept. In Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), we're informed in a little more depth about a plague. Armando (Caesar’s human father-like carer) explains how a virus brought from an astronaut had infected every living cat and dog—the basic pets for humans. The virus killed off each cat and dog, therefore humans resulted in making apes their pets and later on their slaves. This, however, serves no real reason for the trilogy narrative or the narratives for the films before Conquest. Therefore, creating the Simian Flu in Dawn was a more realistic way of answering something which was unclear in the original series.
Upon filling the gaps where the original series missed out on informing us, the reboot modernised the narrative. The narrative follows the story of the ape Caesar who was the protagonist for Conquest and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Throughout the 2011 trilogy, there are numerous references to the original series, ranging from musical choices, character names, similar villains and quoting lines. These are all to be expected as it is a reboot, however, each film in the original series had a stand-alone narrative and allowed it to weave through the main narrative of the entire series. The same can be said for the trilogy, however, the trilogy is more linear, whereas with the original series we travel back and forth in time.
By having the trilogy be more linear it opens the reboot to approach the different narratives of the original series. This has subtly been done in War, as we meet the mute child, Nova. Which many fans of the original series know as the mute human who was enslaved by the apes. She was also the first human to gain the ability to talk from the race of mute humans, in Beneath the Planet of the Apes. This could have set the series in a different direction as it opens up many possibilities, however, this was not the chosen narrative the series went down. This does, however, give a new opportunity for the reboot series.
At the end of War, Caesar has taken all the apes to safety, along with Nova who joins them. Maurice (Caesar’s best friend) tells Caesar before he dies that his son, Cornelius will know of his father and we can assume he will take on the role of leader in the future. Therefore, this opens a new narrative of Cornelius possibly living up to his father's expectations, much like the Caesar portrayed in Battle. There’s the opportunity to show the narrative of apes and humans living in harmony, as Nova would be the first of the human race to live with the apes. Even though War showed humans being completely wiped out, that does not include the rest of the world—giving an opportunity for humans to stumble upon the apes.
This opens up two narratives which a future series could go down. The first, as mentioned above, being apes and humans living in harmony, quite like in Battle, or apes enslaving humans which would go back to the very first Planet of the Apes movie narrative. It would be interesting to see either narrative as we can assume it would be modernised just as the trilogy was. Or a whole new narrative could be created seeing how apes live by themselves and issues which could occur there.
After War in 2017, there was much talk among fans about whether there would be another film. However, nothing secure has been said about a new series continuing from the trilogy. Though with the subtlety of Nova in the last film, we could have some hope that maybe in the distant future there could be another film, but this might just be something that audiences will have to wait for.