With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hitting home video this week now is a good time to listen to what Matt Reeves has to say about the next film. Reeves of course directed Dawn, and he'll be back for the nect chapter in a couple of years.
Watching Dawn there was one element that stuck with me like no other - Caesar declaring that Koba was no ape, and then sending him to his death. That's a big statement for the leader, especially in a series whose best-known Apeism is "Ape shall not kill ape." It's also pure Planet of the Apes social moralizing, a look at how we dehumanize our enemies in order to justify killing them.
It turns out that Matt Reeves is thinking along the same lines for the next film.
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.
I like it. What would have, in any other movie, been a badass line and death scene is, in an Apes film, a moment of deep moral uncertainty that resonates over time. And, as Reeves has noted, we never saw Koba's body. There's a lot of material here.
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.
One last thing: Reeves answered the same question he's been asked about getting to Planet of the Apes (1968) again, but this time he makes one thing clear - he doesn't believe there should be a remake of the original movie.
The idea would never be to remake the ’68 film. There might be some of those events from another perspective, and obviously to also see them as events that grew out of everything that we’ve been watching from this new iteration. They wouldn’t be exactly the same either. So if, and when, we ever get there, which I think is an exciting notion, it would definitely not be a remake but it would be sort of a re-telling of those events from a new perspective. And the events themselves would probably be a bit different since they will have grown out of these films.