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New ‘Planet of the Apes’ Director Describes Movie as Next ‘Installment’ or ‘Chapter’

The Walt Disney Company acquired 21st Century Fox in March, and moviegoers have been awaiting the results since, wondering which of Fox’s ongoing movie series would be continued under the new ownership and which would be mothballed. On Tuesday, Planet of the Apes became one of the first major Fox franchises to get the Disney treatment, before Predator, Die Hard, The X-Files, Alien and other venerable series. So far, details on the new Planet of the Apes have been scant, with one big question on the minds of series’ fans: will the new Planet of the Apes be a continuation of the trilogy begun by Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011 or something entirely new?

Caesar in the latest series entry, 2017’s “War for the Planet of the Apes.”
Twentieth Century Fox

The Maze Runner director Wes Ball, announced to helm the new Planet of the Apes, offered a few additional details on social media Wednesday, stopping short of a definitive answer. However, his descriptions suggest the new Planet of the Apes may be set in the same world as the most recent series, rather than a full reboot.

Celebrating the announcement on Twitter, Ball first replied with a thumbs-up emoji to a skeptical fan who tweeted, “if it doesn’t exist in the same universe as this most recent trilogy, it’s really gonna need to justify its existence.”

It’s possible to read that tease either way: that the new Planet of the Apes either exists in the same universe (thumbs up!) or will justify its independent existence (thumbs up again!), but subsequent answers have us leaning more toward the former.

“I would only do this if I felt I could offer something special while still honoring what’s come before,” Ball said. “We have something that’s shaping up to be an awesome chapter to this franchise.”

“It also doesn’t hurt I’m friends with all the folks behind these movies,” he added.

Ball went on to describe his new Planet of the Apes as the “next installment,” pushing back against a Twitter user describing the movie as a “cynical Disney cash grab.”