Following the release of 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes, it was unclear whether the Apes franchise would continue in this particular continuity or be rebooted yet again. By 2020, director Wes Ball confirmed it would be the former, and since last August, the cast for what we now know as Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes has been coming together. We now have another name to add to that lineup, and with that addition comes some key story details that paint a better picture of what’s in store for Kingdom.
Until now, the only meaty piece of information concerning Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ plot was that it’s set “many years” after War for the Planet of the Apes, which ended with Andy Serkis’ Caesar dying after he led his people to their new home in an oasis. Now there’s a lot more to work with thanks to THR’s reveal that Jurassic World: Dominion and Severance star Dichen Lachman has joined the cast, though as with everyone else who’s been announced so far, her character hasn’t been officially identified.
In its casting report, the outlet notes that in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, multiple ape societies have grown from that oasis setting, while the humans who survived the Simian Flu “have been reduced to a feral-like existence.” Some of these ape societies have never heard of Caesar, while others have twisted his teachings “to build burgeoning empires.” This indicates that Kingdom is most likely set decades or even a century or two after War for the Planet of the Apes rather than just a few years since there are apes unfamiliar with Caesar as this messianic figure.
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will see one of these ape leaders enslaving other groups to find human technology. The movie’s main protagonist, a young ape who hailed from one of these groups, will embark on a journey to find freedom, and while he’ll meet a young human woman who becomes integral to said journey, she has her own plans to fulfill. It’s already been said that The Stand’s Owen Teague has been cast as Kingdom’s main protagonist, and if I had to guess, The Witcher’s Freya Allan is playing the young woman. However, given that we saw some of the humans in War for the Planet of the Apes start to become mute as a byproduct of the Simian Flu, it’s unclear if this young woman, whether she’s played by Allan or someone else, will also be speechless or if she’s one of the few humans capable of speaking.
Obviously there’s still plenty of other details about Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes left to be disclosed, but at least now we have a general sense of where the story will take audiences. Along with the aforementioned actors, the movie’s notable actors include Peter Macon, Eka Darville, Kevin Durand and William H. Macy. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who wrote the first two entries in this Planet of the Apes reboot film series, re-teamed to tackle Kingdom’s script with Josh Friedman and Patrick Aison.
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is almost done shooting in Australia and is due out in theaters on May 24, 2024. While we wait for more updates on its progress, take stock of the 2023 movie releases coming up.