'Planet Of The Apes' Update: New Sequel Could Begin Virtual Production Soon, Says Director Wes Ball

When word came out that The Maze Runner director Wes Ball would be directing a new Planet of the Apes movie for 20th Century Studios, there was some initial confusion about whether or not it would be another reboot or be a continuation of the story that played out over the most recent Apes trilogy. Ball quickly put that to rest, saying "Caesar's legacy will continue," and now he's spoken a bit more about what he hopes to achieve with the upcoming sequel.

Speaking with Discussing Film, Ball explained how he boarded the project in the wake of another of his movies crumbling during the Disney/Fox acquisition. "When Mouse Guard fell apart, it was pretty quickly said, 'Look we're not going to do Mouse Guard, but what would you do with The Planet of the Apes?'" he said. "We were using the same material, the same kind of technology, we were using a lot of the same people involved – I had asked Andy Serkis to join Mouse Guard. So it was kind of natural fit."

After praising the recent Apes trilogy ("those last three movies are one of the great trilogies we have in modern movie history"), Ball teased his take for the newest entry in the franchise:

"I wasn't interested in doing a part four, either. We want to also do our own thing. We have a take. We have a way of staying in the universe that was created before us, but we're also opening ourselves up in being able to do some really cool new stuff. Again, I'm trying to be careful here. I'll say this, for fans of the original three don't worry – you're in good hands. The original writers and producers that came up with Rise and Dawn, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, they're also on board with this. Josh Friedman is writing this thing, a lot of the same crew is kind of involved. We will feel like we're part of that original trilogy, but at the same time we're able to do some really cool new stuff. It will be really exciting to see on the biggest screen possible."

While it sounds like they're still working on tweaking the screenplay and developing concept art, Ball also mentioned "we could actually be in virtual production relatively soon because it's largely a CG movie." That's not an outlandish idea: James Cameron has reportedly been continuing to work in virtual production on his Avatar sequels, and in Canada, discussions are taking place with government officials about reopening motion capture stages with no more than ten people on set in a motion capture facility at a given time.

Clearly, Ball and his team know that they're facing an immense challenge in living up to the tremendous trilogy that came before, but I'm excited to see what he does with this franchise and how it ties back in to Caesar's legacy, presumably without featuring Caesar himself.