2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was easily the freshest blockbuster to hit theaters in years. The movie blended real human emotion with a great script and stunning CGI work to completely reinvent a franchise that we all thought was dead years ago. Of course the movie’s success led to 20th Century Fox giving the go-ahead for a sequel, which will be directed by Matt Reeves who is replacing Rise director, Rupert Wyatt.
It was just assumed that James Franco, the human star of Rise, would be returning for the 2014 sequel. However, in a recent interview with MTV, Franco cast doubt on his future in the series when asked if he would be returning.
I was going to be a small part of the next one. There was a moment when Rupert Wyatt was going to direct the second one. A lot of the human characters that were in the first movie were dead in the sequel that Rupert was going to direct. But there was one scene, between Caesar and my character, maybe even just like on a video that was left behind, but then a lot of things happened, like [former Fox co-chairman] Tom Rothman who was a big part of the first movie, left. Now Rupert's not a part of it so I don't know. My guess is I won't be in it. Nobody's talked to me since Rupert left.
He doesn’t definitely say that he won’t be coming back, but that quote is pretty telling. The good thing is that there is a logical way to write the character off without it seeming like an obvious hole in the plot. Still, while we love what WETA and Andy Serkis did with the CGI apes in Rise, Dawn is still going to need a strong human backbone to make us relate to the story, so a replacement for Franco will be necessary.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will hit theaters on May 23, 2014.