Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2) will join The War of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the highly acclaimed blockbuster Dawn of the Planet of the Apes according to The Hollywood Reporter. Harrelson will reportedly play the villain in the sequel that will have Matt Reeves (Let Me In) returning to the director’s chair for the third film in the rebooted Apes franchise.
Harrelson will be taking over the human villain role for Gary Oldman (Child 44) who played the leader of a group of surviving humans in what was once known as San Francisco. In Dawn, Oldman’s villain was of the grey variety – not pure evil – as he saw defending the remaining humans against the apes as a priority over trying to find peace between the two groups. It remains to be seen whether Harrelson’s character will be of the same ilk or if the character will be closer to evil.
Also unclear, is whether any of the human cast members from Dawn will return for the final film in the rebooted Apes franchise. James Franco (True Story) and Freida Pinto (Jungle Book: Origins) who starred in the first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, didn’t return for the sequel. Presumably, their characters were killed by the virus that wiped out most of the human population between the first two movies. However, there was no indication as to whether Jason Clarke (Everest) or Keri Russell (Dark Skies) would die between the films. Also yet to be announced to return is Tony Kebbell (Fantastic Four) who starred opposite Andy Serkis (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as the manipulative ape Kobo. Gabriel Chavarria (A Better Life) is the only other cast member possibly locked in for War of the Planet of the Apes, though his role hasn’t been confirmed.
War of the Planet of the Apes is currently slated to release July 14, 2017. We’ll have more information on the film as it develops.