Five Things I Want To See In The Next PLANET OF THE APES Movie

There's gonna be a sequel. Here are my demands. 

Even before Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was released Fox signed Matt Reeves to come back and direct a third film in the rebooted series. But with the movie making $72 million over the weekend - and with it all but guaranteed to be #1 at the box office again this weekend - that third film has gone from being a possibility to an absolute certainty. With that in mind here are my five demands for what need to be in the next Planet of the Apes movie.

1) A better title. Dawn and Rise of the Planet of the Apes have pretty much the same title. The Planet of the Apes is done beginning, guys - let's get to some cool words. The title convention must stay (one of the few pleasures in my life is knowing that Fox has maintained this crazy title convention), but it needs to be shaken up. Revolution on the Planet of the ApesWar for the Planet of the ApesHorror on the Planet of the ApesTriumph of the Planet of the ApesApocalypse of the Planet of the Apes - all of these are fine titles. Use one. Or come up with a better one! Just no more words that mean 'beginning.'

2) Mendez! Real Apes-heads know that Mendez is a character who is vital to the Planet of the Apes mythology. In Beneath the Planet of the Apes we meet Mendez XXVI, the leader of the mutants who live in the ruins of New York City. In Battle for the Planet of the Apes, set two thousand years earlier, we meet the first Mendez, who is a lowly assistant to Kolp, the leader of the survivors of nuclear war. At some point that Mendez became their leader and established a dynasty that would rule for milennia. Now we can finally see that! Introduce Mendez in the next film and, over the course of the movie, have him assume leadership of humanity. 

3) Give the women something to do. In the original Planet of the Apes films Zira, the female chimp, is a great character. She's complex, funny and has her own agency. Why hasn't there been a woman like this in the reboot series? Even Caesar's wife, Cornelia, ends up shoved aside as a sickly baby-maker. It's time that a female character stood strong in these new films, whether she be human or ape. Making Caesar's second child a boy feels like a huge mistake - imagine a third film where Blue Eyes is in conflict with his younger sister for leadership of the ape colony?

4) Get weird. One of the pleasures of the original Planet of the Apes movies is the way they kept pivoting. Each film ended like a dare for the next - how will you possibly continue now?, they seem to be saying. The second movie introduced a society of psychic mutants without faces, while the third traveled back to the 1970s to be a comedy (for a little while). I know that the modern thinking is that audiences will only accept so many strange things, but they've already accepted talking apes. Let's open this world up a bit and do something actually bizarre with it. 

5) Kill Caesar. Caesar is clearly the star of these reboots (and now the star of the series, being in five of the seven movies), but he can't stick around forever, especially if we're heading towards the Planet of the Apes. The next film needs to have an elderly Caesar in the Don Corleone role, ceding his empire to a son who perhaps isn't ready for the job. Make this the Caesar trilogy, and then allow the series to do a time jump forward. The original films succeeded while continously changing the main character, and in this case you can keep having Andy Serkis playing the lead (like Roddy McDowell, who played both Cornelius and Caesar over the course of the original series). 

Or you could get really weird and send Caesar forward two thousand years to the day the Icarus crash-lands on the Planet of the Apes...