After bringing Caesar to life so brilliantly in the Planet of the Apes trilogy, you might imagine that Andy Serkis would obviously have a part to play in the upcoming Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Sadly, that’s not the case, but director Wes Ball told Empire (via /Film) that they considered it for a long time.
“We talked about it, for sure. Like, ‘Could you play another ape character?’” Wes Ball said. “I entertained that thought for a long time, because I thought it would be f***ing cool. And Matt [Reeves] would always say, ‘Andy is the best actor I’ve ever worked with.’” At the end of the day, Ball decided that Serkis’ performance in the Planet of the Apes trilogy “was just too iconic,” but added that there’s a chance he could appear in future movies.
Andy Serkis played Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes, and just like Roddy McDowall before him (who played multiple roles in the Apes franchise), it must have been awfully tempting to give him a role in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes as well. I can only wonder what type of role Serkis could play in the potential sequels, but I can appreciate Ball wanting to chart his own course.
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will also be quite removed from the previous trilogy as it takes place roughly 300 years after the events of War for the Planet of the Apes. Caesar’s legacy has lived on, but others have twisted his teachings, including a tyrannical leader who takes Caesar’s name: Proximus Caesar. The new character is played by Kevin Durand, who spoke with Empire about his role. “Caesar is almost a religious figure, and Proximus has taken on the name Caesar because it was the highest position held in ape society,” Durand said. “It was a self-proclamation that was achieved by any means necessary, to ensure that apes continue to evolve. So you’re seeing the influence and the evolution of what Caesar left. And, like in every morsel of human history, there’s always some type of tyrant who comes along and scares everyone into believing them.“
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will hit theaters on May 24, 2024.