Surprise: Director Wes Ball Admits His ‘Planet of the Apes’ Film Is NOT a Reboot

1968’s Planet of the Apes isn’t just bursting with incisive social commentary wrapped in a sensationalized premise. It also features one of the most shocking and influential surprise endings of all time. So the latest update to 20th Century Studios’ new Planet of the Apes follows neatly in with that tradition.

Woody Harrelson and Andy Serkis at the 'War For The Planet Of The Apes' New York premiere
Woody Harrelson and Andy Serkis at the ‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’ New York premiere | Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Confusion over the new ‘Planet of the Apes’

Since Disney’s acquisition of Fox, everyone wondered how the House of Mouse would handle many of the popular franchises under the Fox banner. Much of that focus centered on how the X-Men would be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But little by little, it appeared the newly renamed 20th Century Studios might be looking to reboot Fox titles.

After all, new takes on such fan-favorite series as Home Alone and Die Hard are on the way. So when reports claimed a new Planet of the Apes was in the works, it didn’t take much for everyone to label it a reboot. However, this felt too soon considering Andy Serkis just headlined a commercially successful, critically acclaimed trilogy.

Rebooting the franchise now made little sense to fans. Then again, stranger things have happened. And with the change in ownership, perhaps Disney just felt it would be best to start fresh, no matter how strong the franchise is. Thankfully, director Wes Ball (The Maze Runner) has spoken out about the true nature of his upcoming Planet of the Apes movie.

Filmmaker Wes Ball has clarified it’s not a reboot

As it turns out, Planet of the Apes fans, the whole reboot report was a false alarm. Taking to Twitter, Ball reassured fans “Caesar’s legacy will continue” in his film. The filmmaker didn’t clarify exactly what he meant by that. Still, it’s a clear-cut rejection of the reboot notion that had been floating around.

Serkis was so pitch-perfect as Caesar, leader of the ape revolution. The character’s story was concluded in epic fashion in 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes. Still, discounting his arc outright feels like a step in the wrong direction for a series that was lost for so long. The recent trilogy was, in fact, the first time since the 1970s the Planet of the Apes series had gained such traction.

Ball only recently completed another dystopian science fiction trilogy with the Maze Runner films. So it stands to reason he would recognize how difficult such a feat is to pull off. Fans no doubt are relieved to hear Ball will acknowledge and respect the work directors Rupert Wyatt and Matt Reeves put into rebuilding the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Where the new ‘Planet of the Apes’ could go from here

But with Caesar’s story over, how will Ball’s Planet of the Apes honor his legacy? Given the wild nature of this series, the filmmaker could take the story in any number of directions. However, the most likely route is jumping ahead in time to focus on Caesar’s son, Cornelius. Ball could even be get Serkis to play this new role, again using motion-capture technology.

In the original Planet of the Apes films, Cornelius is a key member of ape society. So swinging the narrative back around to him would provide further connective tissue behind the classic series and the more recent run. War for the Planet of the Apes even perfectly positions Cornelius to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Perhaps Ball’s Planet of the Apes could see Cornelius grappling with a greater leadership role and living up to the past. In this way, the new film could serve as a meta-commentary on the Planet of the Apes franchise itself. We’re not sure exactly where Ball plans to take the series. But there are a lot of options to expand the saga without negating Caesar’s arc.