Wes Ball explains honoring original Planet of the Apes films in reboot
With production shut down on virtually all projects in Hollywood, much time is being spent on developing upcoming films to their full extent, including Wes Ball’s upcoming Planet of the Apes reboot, which he recently opened up on to Discussing Film in how it will honor the original films while forging a new path.
When looking back at the long-running sci-fi franchise and pondering how a filmmaker should plan to continue it with a sequel, namely one that follows the Andy Serkis-led reboot trilogy, Ball notes he and his writing team are spending plenty of time on figuring out a new path for the films.
“Those last three movies are one of the great trilogies we have in modern movie history,” Ball said. “They are just so well done. They honored the original movies they sprang from, the Charlton Heston movies, but they grounded it in a modern sensibility and it just worked. Caesar is one of the great movie characters that we’ll have throughout time. So what do you do to follow that up, right? At the same time, I wasn’t interested in doing a part four either. We want to also do our own thing.”
The 39-year-old director of the Maze Runner trilogy feels that he and his crew have “a way of staying in the universe that was created before us, but we’re also opening ourselves up in being able to do some really cool new stuff.”
“I’ll say this, for fans of the original three don’t worry – you’re in good hands,” Ball assured. “The original writers and producers that came up with Rise and Dawn, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, they’re also on board with this. Josh Friedman is writing this thing, a lot of the same crew is kind of involved. We will feel like we’re part of that original trilogy, but at the same time we’re able to do some really cool new stuff. It will be really exciting to see on the biggest screen possible.”
Based on the French novel by Pierre Boulle, the story has seen the rise of intelligent apes rising up and ruling over humans, with the film franchise beginning in 1968 with the Charlton Heston-starring hit that saw an astronaut landing on a planet in which he finds an ape civilization ruling over primitive men and women, only to discover at the end it’s actually Earth following a nuclear war.
The original film was a major critical and commercial success, spawning numerous sequels and a TV series through the ’70s and spawned a lackluster 2001 remake from Tim Burton (Dumbo) followed by an acclaimed reboot trilogy starring Andy Serkis (Black Panther) as the Moses-like leader Caesar. The trilogy ended with 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes, which Matt Reeves (The Batman) and Serkis said they hoped to make more films in the franchise but after the merger, it was left in question.
Ball made his directorial debut with the 2014 big-screen adaptation of the sci-fi action young adult novel series The Maze Runner, starring Dylan O’Brien, which turned out to be a box office smash and was warmly received by critics and audiences alike and spawned two more sequels to adapt the rest of the novel series, though the follow-ups were met with more mixed reviews and smaller box office returns.
The 39-year-old director was set to adapt the Boom! Comics series Mouse Guard into a big-budget blockbuster for Fox, but given the high price tag, Disney chose to shelve the project, much to the chagrin of Ball, the ensemble cast assembled and fans looking forward to the film.