War for the Planet for the Apes, the third installment in the current Apes franchise, had quite a presence at this year’s New York Comic Con. The film’s panel featured director Matt Reeves, producer Dylan Clark, and Caesar himself, Andy Serkis. Together the three of them talked about the upcoming film, including how the story could continue after Caesar, and potentially set up an Apes universe. It’s something fans would certainly be open to down the road, however, the core of the hype remained on War, and the possibility of new footage. Well, the filmmakers did not disappoint as fans got an early look at the film with not just a first trailer, but an unfinished 7-minute scene.
Screen Rant was generous enough to post a written description of the footage and, as you’ll read below, it was nothing short of great. Starting with a description of a scene that involves Caesar surprisingly being less merciful and open to humans.
“In the scene, Caesar (Andy Serkis), joined by Maurice (Karin Konoval), Rocket (Terry Notary), and a new gorilla character are on horseback – until they come upon a small cabin in a clearing. As they dismount, they encounter a man carrying firewood. Rocket, Caesar, and the gorilla train their guns on the man (Maurice isn’t armed) and the man cautiously moves to set down his firewood – but reaches back for his own weapon and his shot dead by Caesar on the spot (to the shock of the other apes). The apes then investigate the cabin for other threats and scavenge what they can for their journey – until Maurice finds a young girl (roughly ten years old) hiding in the back of the cabin. He hands the girl her doll and attempts to comfort the frightened kid – discovering that the girl is mute. As the apes prepare to leave, the girl comes out to find her father dead and Maurice requests they take her with them (suggesting she will not survive alone). Caesar disagrees but when Maurice refuses to leave without the girl, he concedes. The final shot of the scene shows the apes riding their horses along the coast, the girl with her arms wrapped around Maurice, and Caesar looking on them with brief annoyance before moving to the front of the group.”
One of the more exciting additions to War is Woody Harrelson, who will playing the antagonist named the Colonel. Recently, there were details of a final face-off between his character and Caesar. The trailer hints at this confrontation, as the Colonel marks the first time Caesar faces a worthy adversary, both physically and mentally, that is human.
“The teaser opens with a squad of well-armed and highly-trained soldiers searching a dark cave. In the cave, ape architecture (log platforms, bridges, and other structures) is visible. A soldier’s comm crackles when, out of the black, Caesar grabs him and tosses him to the ground – picking up his radio headset to listen-in. They’re searching for him – they’re on a mission to assassinate him. The footage then cuts to the film’s antagonist “Colonel” (Woody Harrelson), decked out in black war paint, repelling out of the waterfall – with Caesar pursuing and leaping off a ledge after him.
The remaining footage (out of context) reveals apes, bowing in respect to Caesar, presenting their leader with human captives. We see shots of a fiery battle, and wintery mountain compound where the Colonel, along with his soldiers, mount their war against the apes. The Colonel narrates throughout, acknowledging the irony that humans created the apes, and nature has been punishing them ever since, while stating that his army is prepared for a final stand – to do all they can to prevent the world from becoming a “planet of apes.” Finally, the teaser reveals Caesar on his knees before the Colonel – who cocks a handgun and presses the barrel into Caesar’s forehead. Caesar, in turn, snarls and pushes his face against the gun.”
This upcoming film could be the end for the Caesar character, who by the beginning of the third film is viewed by other apes as a Moses-like figure. If it is in fact the end for Caesar, it wouldn’t mean the end for Serkis’ involvement. The actor revealed during the panel his desire to return, if to play another character if necessary. Regardless, as someone who has followed the franchise since Dawn, I’m deeply invested in seeing where this story goes next. We all have a pretty good idea of where, but the execution has so far been unlike anything we could’ve expected. Matt Reeves’ War for the Planet of the Apes swings into theaters on July 14th, 2017.
Sources: Screen Rant.