After a long, dry stretch of having no new movies that involve apes rising or conquesting any planets, we finally have a confirmation that Planet of the Apes 4 is happening. According to an interview with 20th Century Fox president in The Hollywood Reporter, a draft screenplay for a new Planet of the Apes movie is incoming any day, and Wes Ball, the director of The Maze Runner series of films, is set the helm it. While the project has been in limbo since the last film in the series all the way back in 2017, there have been consistent plans to continue the franchise. Last we heard, the idea was to keep in the same continuity as began in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and would continue with the concept of the lead ape Caesar (portrayed by Andy Serkis). But continuity has always been a slippery thing with The Planet of the Apes, so we would guess anything could happen (as long as it involved intelligent simians overthrowing human rule in some capacity).
The most recent installment, War for the Planet of the Apes, premiered in 2017 and was directed by Matt Reeves. While, at the time, he expressed interest in keeping with the franchise, enough time has passed that he likely has moved on from any potential Planet of the Apes 4. Especially considering he is behind the mammoth The Batman starring Robert Pattinson that just debuted and Warner Bros no doubt will want to keep him around (as long as it sells enough tickets). There also has been some world that Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige has begun courting Reeves to bring him over to the MCU; if that happens, he will be the only director other than James Gunn to crossover from one comic book cinematic universe to another, so we will just have to wait and see.
Aside from acknowledging that 20th Century Fox was finally making some moves on Planet of the Apes 4, the interview with Steve Asbell revealed a whole lot of other exciting projects coming down the pike. Apparently, the long-gestating Avatar sequel is absolutely, definitely, 100% happening in 2022, although we will believe that when we see some Na’vi on screen. Presumably, he has also been in contact with director James Cameron and reassured him about it, considering Cameron has expressed quite a few worries about the future of that franchise.
The Fox head honcho also hinted at future plans for more Agatha Christie-Kenneth Branagh mystery movies, following this year’s Death on the Nile (presumably without Armie Hammer in any capacity), and that they were already working on a sequel to Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy. All this should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt, given it is Asbell’s job to make sure everyone is excited for all the upcoming Fox projects, especially after several years of delays and imperiled theaters. But we heard you, Asbell: you promised a Planet of the Apes 4 and we’re expecting it.