I think it’s fair to say that Rise of the Planet of the Apes surprised a great many people. (Myself included.) Powered by a nuanced performance from Andy Serkis as the ape Caesar and cutting-edge effects wizardry from WETA, Rise shrugged off assumptions that it was a hackneyed cash-in sequel to become that rare summer tentpole that scored both critical and audience approval.

Now Fox has announced that it plans to stage a campaign for Oscar recognition for Serkis, and has signed him to reprise the role of Caesar in multiple additional Apes films.

Deadline notes that Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt was already set for a sequel, thanks to the language in his deal. Now Andy Serkis is set for “multiple future installments of the series.” We’ve known that sequels have been considered for the film, and that screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver thought of this summer’s film as the first of a trilogy.

There are no deals yet in place for James Franco and/or Freida Pinto, Fox will figure out whether or not to bring them back as the storyline for the next film is finalized.

I wonder, too, if Serkis might have leveraged Fox into hiring him to direct second unit on an Apes film. He has been doing that duty for Peter Jackson on The Hobbit, and it seems clear that Serkis is determined to move into the director’s chair at some point in the near future.

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