War for the Planet of the Apes is a 2017 American science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves from a screenplay by Reeves and Mark Bomback, and produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. It is the sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and the third installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise. It stars Andy Serkis as Caesar, alongside Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn. In the film, conflict between apes and humans has escalated into full war, and Caesar sets out to avenge those he has lost.
Development for War for the Planet of the Apes began in January 2014, after 20th Century Fox viewed Reeves’ cut of its predecessor; his return was soon confirmed, along with Bomback’s. A conditional 2016 release date was announced in May 2015, which led to a closer and faster pre-production relationship between writer and director. The film shares similarities to Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), with emphasis on the impact of psychosocial development and interaction of apes and humans. Casting began in August 2015 and finished that October, with principal photography commencing soon thereafter and concluding in March 2016, with filming locations including Lower Mainland and the Kananaskis Range.
War for the Planet of the Apes premiered on July 10, 2017 at the SVA Theatre in New York City, and was theatrically released worldwide by 20th Century Fox on July 14. The film received critical acclaim, with praise for Reeves’ direction, Serkis’ performance, visual effects, themes, emotional weight, Michael Giacchino’s score, and Michael Seresin’s cinematography. War for the Planet of the Apes was a commercial success, grossing over $490 million, and received numerous awards and nominations, including nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Special Visual Effects at the 90th Academy Awards and 71st British Academy Film Awards, respectively. A sequel, titled Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, is in production with a release date set for 2024.
After seeing his cut of Dawn, 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment signed Matt Reeves to return as director for a third installment of the reboot series. In January 2014, the studio announced the third film, with Reeves returning to direct and co-write along with Bomback, and Peter Chernin, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver serving as producers. During an interview in mid-November 2014 with MTV, Andy Serkis said they did not know the next film’s setting. “…It could be five years after the event. It could be the night after the events of where we left Dawn.” In May 2015, the title was first given as War of the Planet of the Apes. By October 2015, it had been retitled as War for the Planet of the Apes. When director Reeves and screenwriter Bomback came on board to helm Dawn, the film already had a release date, which led to an accelerated production schedule. However, with the third installment, Fox wanted to give the duo plenty of time to write and make the film. Taking advantage of this, the two bonded with each other more than before.
In interviews for Dawn, Reeves talked about the inevitable war Caesar would have with the humans: “As this story continues, we know that war is not avoided by the end of Dawn. That is going to take us into the world of what he is grappling with. Where he is going to be thrust into circumstances that he never, ever wanted to deal with, and was hoping he could avoid. And now he is right in the middle of it. The things that happen in that story test him in huge ways, in the ways in which his relationship with Koba haunts him deeply. It’s going to be an epic story. I think you’ve probably read that I sort of described it where in the first film was very much about his rise from humble beginnings to being a revolutionary. The second movie was about having to rise to the challenge of being a great leader in the most difficult of times. This is going to be the story that is going to cement his status as a seminal figure in ape history, and sort of leads to an almost biblical status. He is going to become like a mythic ape figure, like Moses.”
Toby Kebbell, who portrayed Koba in Dawn, had expressed interest in reprising his role or performing as other characters. Plans to include Koba in a larger role in the film were abandoned early, with Bomback saying, “If you stayed until the very end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, you hear Koba’s breathing. We did that to give us a tiny crack of a possibility that we could revive Koba if we wanted to. Very early on in spitballing, we realized there was nothing more to do with Koba—certainly nothing that would exceed what he had done in the last story. But we knew we wanted to keep him alive as an idea. In playing out the reality of what happened at the end of the last film, Caesar would be traumatized by having to kill his brother. That would have resonance, and we wanted to make sure that did not get lost. So the answer was that we could go inside Caesar’s mind at this point and revisit Koba that way.”
- Andy Serkis as Caesar, a chimpanzee who is leader to a tribe of enhanced apes.
- Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, a chimpanzee who manages to flee from the Sierra Safari Zoo after seeing his family and acquaintances being blamed for the simian flu and killed by the soldiers.Toby Kebbell as Koba, a treacherous bonobo who hates humans and is responsible for the war. Koba appears to Caesar as a hallucination.
- Judy Greer as Cornelia, Caesar’s chimpanzee wife.
- Karin Konoval as Maurice, a Bornean orangutan and Caesar’s loyal adviser and friend.
- Terry Notary as Rocket, Caesar’s loyal chimpanzee lieutenant.
- Michael Adamthwaite as Luca, a western lowland gorilla in Caesar’s tribe.
- Ty Olsson as Red, a western lowland gorilla who works for the Colonel as a “donkey”.
- Devyn Dalton as Cornelius, Caesar’s youngest chimpanzee son.
- Sara Canning as Lake, Blue Eyes’ chimpanzee wife. She takes care of Cornelius.
- Aleks Paunovic as Winter, an albino western lowland gorilla in Caesar’s tribe, who later joins forces with the Colonel.
- Max Lloyd-Jones as Blue Eyes, Caesar’s eldest chimpanzee son.
- Woody Harrelson as the Colonel, the leader of the paramilitary faction the Alpha-Omega. The militia employs around 400 militarized people, who remain confident as humanity’s last bastion under the leadership of the Colonel
- Gabriel Chavarria as Preacher, a crossbowman commander in the Alpha-Omega militia and the Colonel’s right hand
- Amiah Miller as Nova, an orphan who is mute
- Roger Cross as the Captain from the Alpha-Omega platoon
- Mercedes De La Zerda as Lang, a soldier whose life is spared after the platoon assault failed and the survivors were captured. Later, she participates in the infiltration team at that night
- Chad Rook as Boyle, a soldier from the quarantine facility who sees the construction of the defensive wall
July 10, 2017
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