Two films into the Planet of the Apes prequel series and we’re starting to go a bit ape regarding some unanswered questions. How will it connect up to the events of the original 1968 movie, if at all? What will happen to super-intelligent chimp Caesar (Andy Serkis)? Fortunately, we’re likely to get some answers in next year's War for the Planet of the Apes. Until then, here are our burning questions.
What will wipe out the humans?
We already know that the ALZ-113 virus was responsible for destroying the majority of the human population as we know it in between the events of Rise and Dawn. However as the latter showed, there are still clusters of humans left alive. This is a stark contrast to what we saw in the original sixties film, in which the human race was reduced to nothing more than a few primitive beings.
So while we know the end result, we don’t know exactly what happened. However, the title War is a huge clue, as conflict is brewing between the humans and the apes. Could it be the apes that force the humans to the brink of extinction? Or could the new antagonist, the Colonel (played by Woody Harrelson), be to blame?
The original Planet of the Apes did suggest that nuclear warfare was responsible for humanity’s downfall, but we’re still unsure how faithful the prequels are to the original. All we know is that the humans are going to lose. It’s about time someone else won.
Which of Caesar's apes will die?
We currently have very little information about the upcoming film, but we do have a short film synopsis (courtesy of Slash Film). It reads as follows:
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 his 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.
"After the apes suffer unimaginable losses." This could be the emotional catalyst for Caesar, and so we should expect at least one major ape to be killed in the battle. Could it be Caesar’s wife, Cornelia, or maybe even one of his sons? Such a death is certain to give Caesar a lot of emotional turmoil.
We just hope that the lovable orangutan Maurice isn’t one of the early casualties. After all, his species has been through enough already. This could be the most upsetting animal death since Marley and Bambi’s mother, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Will Caesar delve into his dark side?
As mentioned before, Caesar is expected to go through emotional trauma during the impending war.
Another snippet from the synopsis says that he will "wrestle with his darker instincts as he resolves to avenge his kind". In the previous film, Caesar tried his best to keep to his morals intact and was in most cases a kind and fair leader. However at the film’s conclusion, Caesar did seemingly break his one rule: ape shall not kill ape. Letting Koba (Toby Kebbell) fall to his death was one of the first times that saw a glimpse of Caesar’s darker side.
There’s no doubt that we’ll see more of this side in the next film as Caesar is pushed to his limits. What he will do remains a mystery, but we’re excited to see what unfolds.
Did Koba perish?
We did just say that Caesar let Koba fall to his death. But did the villainous ape truly die? At the end of the credits, there was a strange audio clip of heavy breathing. If we had to guess, we’d say that this was the sound of Koba, battling to stay alive after his almost-fatal fall. To add fuel to the fire, director Matt Reeves hinted in an interview that we might be seeing more of Koba in the future.
But how could he have survived such a big fall? Well, if you watch the ending again you’ll notice that Koba collided with some scaffolding before disappearing from sight. Perhaps it broke his fall? If so, his body would have surely been crippled, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t still be a major character in the upcoming film.
We already know that the military are on their way to his location, so perhaps they will find Koba. As if Koba hadn’t already suffered enormously, this would probably mean that the ape will be interrogated. We almost feel sorry for him. Almost.
Will there be any more surprise appearances?
Considering War for the Planet of the Apes will see Caesar face off against the humans, could we see his old owner and friend from the first prequel?
Will Rodman (James Franco) was a major part of Caesar’s life and the one strong link that keeps him sympathetic towards the humans. While it is assumed that Will died from the virus outbreak, it’s entirely possible that he’s one of the few survivors. In a film promising big deaths and trauma, we’re not sure we could handle any more emotion, but an appearance of Will is likely to get the tears flowing.
Who are the new monkeys?
Since there’s going to be a war, there’s going to need to be an army. There’s already been a number of casting announcements of actors, the most notable of which is Steve Zahn, who is expected to have a significant role.
He’s no stranger to lending his voice to talking animals, having worked on such films such as Stuart Little, Dr. Dolittle 2 and The Good Dinosaur. Will he be playing an ape who has been in the background of the previous movies, or a completely new simian? If it's the latter then perhaps there are more intelligent apes than we previously thought.
This would make some sense, since the apes are seemingly destined to take over the whole planet. Whatever the answer, we’re looking forwards to seeing Zahn joining the cast. We’re hoping that he’s a gorilla!
What's next for Caesar?
We don't want to jump ahead too far, but we seriously need to know whether this will be the last film in the series. It was assumed that there would only three prequels, but a couple of years back Andy Serkis suggested that it could be boosted to four or five films.
That’s great news for us, as we get to see more of the Planet of the Apes series, but is it good news for Caesar? So far, he’s been the main protagonist of the series, but does that guarantee he'll survive the duration? It’s entirely possible that our favourite ape won’t live through the war.
It would be a bold move considering how compelling a character Caesar is. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the prequel series will come to its dramatic conclusion. Perhaps we’ll even get (another) remake of the original film. We can only hope.
When can we see War for the Planet of the Apes?
Finally, a question we actually know the answer to! Caesar will return to Cineworld screens on 14th July 2017.