Today (October 6), 20th Century Fox released a haunting 45-second glimpse of Caesar – the genetically enhanced chimp who leads the future, fledgling ape civilization seen in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) – as a New York City Comic-Con digital billboard:
Master motion-capture actor Andy Serkis returns as Caesar. In this trailer, he speaks only a dozen ominous words – “You must go before fighting begins. I am sorry. War has begun” – while being covered in falling… snow? Ash? Dust? Whatever it is, the wind has blown him away with it by the teaser’s end.
While it’s visually haunting, the clip adds no substantial information to the studio’s official synopsis of the film, which it released last week (of course, it’s hard to complain—they don’t call them “teasers” for nothing):
In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins this own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.
In addition to Serkis, the movie’s cast includes Woody Harrelson as the Colonel; Judy Greer, returning as Cornelia, Caesar’s wife; Max Lloyd-Jones as Caesar’s eldest son, Blue Eyes (taking over the role from Nick Thurston); Alessandro Juliani as “Spear” (an ape, I presume); and Steve Zahn as a new and as yet unnamed ape character.
War for the Planet of the Apes will debut one year shy of the original Planet of the Apes’ 50th anniversary. I’m hoping the new movie will continue making nods and paying homage to the original Apes movies even as it develops the mythos in new ways.
For example: Given the synopsis’ mention of his “mythic quest” and his dissolution at the teaser’s end, might Andy Serkis’ Caesar (unlike Roddy McDowall’s) fall in battle? Might he also—either before his death, or by virtue of it—become his planet of the apes’ self-sacrificing, messianic “Lawgiver”?
We’ll find out when all of post-apocalyptic Earth’s primates go to war in a theater near you on July 14, 2017.
UPDATE: Later on Thursday, the studio screened an actual trailer just before the film’s NYCC panel. That trailer has not yet been made legitimately available, but you can read a description of it from The Hollywood Reporter.
What are your predictions or hopes for War for the Planet of the Apes? Make your voice heard, Blue Eyes, in the comments!