The action in 'War' picks up two years after the conclusion of 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

By Kevin P. Sullivan
March 30, 2017 at 02:36 PM EDT
20th Century Fox

The latest trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes (opening July 14), the follow-up to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, just debuted, and much like its predecessor, the new chapter in the life of super-smart simian Caesar promises evolutionary action and too many prepositional phrases in the title.

The action in War picks up two years after the conclusion of Dawn, when the military was poised to bear down on Caesar and his family of similarly enhanced apes. Here, the conflict carries on with significant losses on both sides, and Caesar is looking for a way to end the fighting once and for all.

“I did not start this war—I fight only to protect apes” he says in the new footage.

The target of his anger is the Colonel, played by a bald Woody Harrelson channeling Marlon Brando à la Apocalypse Now. The military leader is the head of the Alpha-Omega, a special force troop determined to end the primate problem and reference to Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

“There are times when it is necessary to abandon our humanity to save humanity,” the Colonel says. Later in the trailer, he scoffs at Caesar’s declaration that he’s shown mercy. “You talk about mercy? No matter what you say eventually you’d replace us. That’s the law of nature.”

Complicating matters is a mute human girl named Nova, whom Caesar and his band find. Fans of the series will recognize the name as a significant player in the original Planet of the Apes, but it’s unclear how this Nova will factor into the larger reboot mythos.

When director Matt Reeves (who recently signed on to helm The Batman, starring Ben Affleck) unveiled the first trailer at New York Comic Con, he hinted at War‘s larger scope, which wasn’t specifically highlighted in that original tease and is on full display here.

War for the Planet of the Apes

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Matt Reeves