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Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes Director Says The Film Isn’t ‘Disneyfied’ But Explains How The Sequel Differs From Its Predecessors

After the 2019 Disney/Fox merger officially completed, the fates of many legacy franchises were called into question. One such concern fans had was whether the newly-rebooted Planet of the Apes series would be affected, and if so, how greatly. Over time, those worries seem to have been addressed very carefully, which leads to Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ director Wes Ball’s statement about how this 2024 movie release isn’t “Disneyfied” in any way. 

However, it also won’t be business as usual, as this fourth chapter is set centuries after Caesar’s death started the movement towards a Planet of the Apes. Admittedly, Apocalypto with Apes” doesn’t sound like the most Disney-friendly concept; and coincidentally enough one of the company’s former subsidiaries actually produced that very Mel Gibson movie. 

Starting with where he wanted to take the story from Day 1, Wes Ball told Empire the following details: 

When I first started on it, I said, ‘I feel like Apes needs a little bit of Star Wars.’ It’s all still very grounded in reality, but it is essentially a quest narrative. Our main character – the young, impressionable Noa [Owen Teague] – meets characters along the way and becomes awakened as he winds up in a place that will test him, and he ultimately becomes his true self.

How much Star Wars has found its way into the Apes saga is yet to be seen, although considering how some fans have reacted to Disney’s reign in that franchise, that may be a bit of an alarm bell. That’s even with everything we know about Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes falling firmly in step with what we’ve seen in the Andy Serkis-fronted trilogy that came before, spanning from 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes straight through to 2018’s War for the Planet of the Apes

One could glean that even Wes Ball himself sensed those fears, which leads to his big claim that the corporate structure of 20th Century Fox shifting into the 20th Century Studios era doesn’t mean this harsh and heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting story needs to be watered down. That assurance came with more specifics on where Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will be taking things, thanks to this further remark: 

We haven’t kiddified it, or Disneyfied it, if I’m allowed to say that! But we have brought a younger spirit to it.

At this point, it’s probably time for the fans who are still mourning Disney’s axing of the Mouse Guard adaptation to start scratching their heads. If there was anything that had a “younger spirit” mixed with the hero’s journey of Star Wars, surely it was the aborted adaptation of David Petersen’s comic masterpiece. 

Then again, Apes director Wes Ball did manage to land in this storytelling universe as a result of that shelving. So ultimately, those same energies are being tied into the continuation of this legacy brand from the 20th Century Fox catalog. Considering how wonderful the materials leaked from Mouse Guard’s cancelled project looked, having Ball working in this sandbox is still very much something to celebrate. 

Perhaps that “younger spirit” is also an indicator of how Noa’s story will differ from Caesar, signaling that maybe this ape hero will be allowed to live in the history he’s about to help create. It’s not going to be long before we all get to take our first steps into this new epoch of simian history. May 24, 2024 will see the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes rise in movie theaters. 

However, you can retrace Caesar’s trilogy of historical events, starting with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. At the time of this writing, viewers are able to stream that installment with the usage of a Hulu subscription.

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