William H. Macy Is Joining The Cast Of Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

The recent trio of "Planet of the Apes" films ended up all being winners. Maybe those movies get a little lost in the sci-fi conversation amidst all the superhero and "Star Wars" movies, but pound for pound "Apes" is the most consistently great nerdy franchise going, thanks in no small part to the great work of Matt Reeves on the last two films.

Reeves isn't coming back for the next round of "Planet of the Apes" films, but 20th Century Studios looks to be keeping the bar set pretty high on this series with Wes Ball ("The Maze Runner") directing and collecting an impressive cast and creative team to help him continue the story. 

We already know Owen Teague ("The Stand"), Freya Allan ("The Witcher"), and Peter Macon ("The Orville") have been cast and Deadline just revealed that William H. Macy ("Shameless," "Boogie Nights") has also just signed on in an as yet unidentified role. Will he be doing performance capture as an Ape or will he be a human character? Good guy? Bad guy? We don't know, but what we do know is that Macy is the kind of actor that could pull off any of that. The man could be a bumbling klutz or a stone-cold killer — he has that range.

Apes together strong

The project is still in its early days yet, so there's not a whole lot of info out there about the plot, but we do know that "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is a direct sequel to the Caesar films and not a reboot or parallel story. This one takes place "many years" after the events of the last film, "War for the Planet of the Apes." 

There are a lot of credited writers on "Kingdom" including Josh Friedman ("Avatar: The Way of Water"), Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver ("Rise" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"), and Patrick Aison ("Prey"). Normally it's a big red flag to have a gaggle of writers on a project, especially a big-budget franchise IP, but it is a good sign that Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are on board since they had a hand in the last trilogy, so there should be a consistency of world and character there. 

It's still to be determined if needing Friedman and Aison involved means the story wasn't coming together, but for now, we'll give the film the benefit of the doubt because no matter how the writing process went all of the writers involved know their stuff and the studio obviously values the "Apes" films highly. And they should, considering they have earned the studio $1.7 billion at the worldwide box office so far.

"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is expected to see a release on May 24, 2024.