"War for the Planet of the Apes" is the latest big-budget sequel to hit theaters this summer, and the third entry in the ongoing saga of man vs. ape will push the story in an even darker direction. But if you're not sure where "War" fits into the overall "Apes" picture, we're here to help.
Here's everything you need to know before heading to the theater this weekend.
1. It's a sequel.It can be hard to keep track of how the various "Planet of the Apes" movies fit together, given that the franchise has been rebooted more than once. "War for the Planet of the Apes" is the third entry in Fox's latest reboot series. It builds on the groundwork established in 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and 2014's "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," taking place roughly two years after the previous movie.
2. Caesar is still the star.
This sequel will, again, center on super-intelligent chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis) as he attempts to lead his ape family while dealing with the ongoing threat posed by humanity. Several of Caesar's ape friends and family will also return, including wife Cornelia (Judy Greer), son Blue Eyes (Max Lloyd-Jones), and friend/adviser Maurice (Karin Konoval).There will also be new ape villains to fill the void left by the treacherous Koba. Red (Ty Olsson) is a gorilla who once followed Koba and now sides with humanity against his ape brethren.
3. There are new human characters."War" will continue the series' trend of starting from scratch where its human cast is concerned. Don't expect return appearances from James Franco's Will Rodman from "Rise" or Jason Clarke's Malcolm and his family from "Dawn." Instead, Woody Harrelson's "The Colonel" is the main human character this time around. The Colonel sees humanity as being on the brink of extinction following its long war with apes, and he'll do whatever is necessary to ensure the survival of his species.
4. The franchise is getting darker.Sure, the previous two "Apes" movies were pretty dark, but things look to be taking an even darker turn in "War," as the war for survival becomes more heated. The third movie will focus a great deal on Caesar's growing sense of disillusionment as he deals with mounting casualties and comes to understand that apes are just as skilled as humans when it comes to treachery.
5. There are classic "Apes" connections."Rise of the Planet of the Apes" featured a fun nod to the original "Apes" series in the form of a cameo for wayward astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston's character) and the doomed ship Icarus. "War" will continue to pay homage to the classic movies as it introduces two new, key characters fans will recognize. The film will feature the debut of Caesar's youngest son, Cornelius (Devyn Dalton), and mute human refugee Nova (Amiah Miller). Maybe we'll even see Taylor himself stop by in a future sequel. Speaking of which...
6. There will be more sequels.It doesn't appear that "War" will be the last film in the current "Apes" series. Fox confirmed in October 2016 that a fourth film is already in development. We assume the ending to "War" will give a better idea of where the franchise is headed, however, Fox may have to move forward with a new director, as Matt Reeves has signed on to direct "The Batman" for Warner Bros.