War is coming. "War for the Planet of the Apes," that is.
Twentieth Century Fox put a spotlight on the highly anticipated sequel to "Dawn for the Planet of the Apes" at a showcase of their 2017 films. While most of the information wasn't anything fans haven't heard before -- especially those who came out to see Andy Serkis and director Matt Reeves at New York Comic Con earlier this year -- the studio did release a brand-new trailer for the film. They also introduced a new character that will have everyone talking: Steve Zahn as Bad Ape.
The threequel picks up two years after the second film in this prequel trilogy, in which Caesar and his apes are two year into a violent conflict with what's left of human military forces, led by The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). Fox previewed some early, unfinished footage from the film in a series of clips, but fans can spot them in the trailer below.The opening shot sees Maurice, Rocket, and Luca are accompanying Caesar on a mission to find the human army's basecamp, but they find a young, mute girl along the way. After a fatal encounter with her father, Maurice convinces the group to bring her along. According to Reeves, this is the "Western" portion of the film.
Elsewhere, we see a squad of military men snaking through the woods in the hopes of ambushing an ape entourage. By this point, Team Caesar has retreated into the woods, where they have the advantage. Even as The Colonel's men and their "donkeys" (apes they use to haul weaponry and fresh ammunition) are able to get the drop on them, reinforcements arrive, lay waste to the masses with an onslaught of arrows, and take a few men captive to face their leader.
Zahn's Bad Ape, meanwhile, provides some much needed comedic relief, but even that is tinged with tragedy. We first meet the character as he tries to steal supplies from Caesar's small troupe in the wintry mountains. After a chase ensues, they meet him face to face and are shocked their's another ape that's managed to survive this harsh world outside their clan.
Mentally unhinged from living a solitary existence, Bad Ape got his name from his former human handlers at a zoo, where they would constantly scream, "Bad ape!"
"When I started this, I really thought it would be challenging for different reasons," Zahn told press at the showcase. "I thought that the things that were gonna obstruct kind of the way I worked were technical things, and that I was going to have to adapt the way I worked to a certain -- to this big MoCap, whatever that means, world. And what I realized, and it was frightening, was that the challenges were the same challenges I had doing experimental theater in Boston."
Reeves emphasized how he wanted to continue to push the limits of motion-capture technology.
"Whereas in 'Rise,' the movie was shot primarily on stage," he explained, "they shot some on location but it was primarily on stage. In 'Dawn,' we wanted to push them into the woods. And I wanted it to be as photo-real as possible. I was like, 'Can we shoot, actually, in the woods? Can we shoot in the rain?' And Weta proved to me in 'Dawn' that they could. So I was like, 'Let's do it in the snow,' and they were like, 'Okay.'"
"War for the Planet of the Apes" hits theaters July 14, 2017.