A recent interview between The Hollywood Reporter and 20th Century Studios’ current President Steve Asbell yielded some very promising updates on projects such as Free Guy 2 and Daniel Trachtenberg’s Predator prequel, but it also provided a pretty big scoop on the next installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise.
It’s been more than two years since Wes Ball (The Maze Runner trilogy) was announced as the director of the project, a whole month before the Fox-Disney merger was complete. In today’s interview, not only did Asbell confirm that Ball was still expected to helm the project, he also revealed when filming is set to begin.
“We hope to go by the late summer, early fall,” he said. He also said that, like Free Guy 2, a script draft is expected very shortly. Given how quickly everything is coming together, that means that casting could also begin soon.
Shortly after his involvement was revealed in 2020, Ball revealed that the plan was for his film(s) to continue on the legacy established by Matt Reeves’s films. Whether or not that is still the case, however, remains to be seen. We figure that Asbell’s small update is the first of many to come over the next few months.
The original Planet of the Apes film, based on a novel by French writer Pierre Boulle and starring Charlton Heston, centers on an astronaut who lands on a planet and discovers an advanced ape civilization ruling over primitive humans. In the final, infamous twist, he learns he is actually on Earth, which had suffered an apocalyptic nuclear war.
The movie was a commercial and critical hit upon its 1968 release and spawned numerous sequels and a TV series throughout the 1970s. In 2001, Tim Burton remade the movie as an action-adventure that failed to excite audiences. However, Fox found success again with a reboot trilogy that began with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an origin story chronicling how the primates took over that featured envelope-pushing motion-capture technology and a stirring performance by Serkis as the leader of the apes, Caesar.