So, how much do you want to bet that director Wes Ball knows just how, uh, passionate fans can be on social media these days? Almost immediately after invoking “Star Wars” to describe his latest movie, the filmmaker goes out of his way to reassure potential viewers, “We haven’t kiddified it, or Disneyfied it, if I’m allowed to say that! But we have brought a younger spirit to it.” That spirit might very well come through main characters like the ape Noa (who, as many are speculating, may or may not be a direct descendant of Caesar) and the young human character portrayed by Freya Allen, who, based on the trailer, seem destined to cross paths. Still, Ball goes on to hold up the 2006 Mel Gibson film “Apocalypto” as a source of inspiration, as well, so we’re safely expecting a film that will feel right at home with the existential musings of the rest of the series.
Another big question mark hanging over “Kingdom” is when, exactly, this story takes place. The official synopsis details that this is set “set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign,” which Ball echoes here:
“I wanted to do a big leap forward in time. It’s significant enough that Caesar is still a spirit in the movie, but most of his living relatives are not in this picture. If the last three movies were the Stone Age, here we get to see what happens when they enter the Bronze Age.”
That seems to jibe with the more talkative, clothes-wearing, and slightly more advanced apes on display in the trailer. Either way, consider us intrigued by whatever Ball has up his sleeves here. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” comes to theaters on May 24, 2024.