Nobody has yet seen a final cut of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes besides a few executives at Fox. That elite cabal is clearly delighted with director Matt Reeves' work, however, since the studio has immediately signed him up for a third instalment in the reborn Apes franchise.
The indications are that Reeves will be getting straight to work. Fox are calling Apes 3 a high priority, which demonstrates impressive faith given that Dawn's box office results have yet to come in. The director will once again co-write the screenplay with Mark Bomback, who came to Dawn following script drafts by Scott Z. Burns and original Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.
Dawn takes place eight years after Rise, and sees Caesar's nation of enhanced apes failing to keep the fragile peace with the surviving humans. Very roughly, it's the Battle For The Planet Of The Apes to Rise's Conquest, which makes the prospect of part 3 interesting: we're now out of original series films on which to vaguely map the narrative.
What comes after Dawn? The arrival of the Icarus (which previously carried Charlton Heston) has been teased in the past. Are we heading towards what we previously knew as the beginning? When do we get to the bomb worshippers in the subway?
There's no mention of Andy Serkis yet, but we'd say the odds are in favour of his returning for a third outing as Caesar. In Dawn, he has human support from Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Keri Russell. For much more on this year's sequel, pick up the current issue of Empire in anticipation of Dawn's release on July 17.