While Caesar has remained a constant throughout the trilogy, the entire human cast of characters in each of the recent “Planet of the Apes” films changes with each movie.
The same is true of this week’s “War for the Planet of the Apes” with the lead sympathetic human roles of Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and Ellie (Keri Russell) from the second film not returning for the new one despite forming a friendship with Caesar by the conclusion of ‘Dawn’.
Already one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year, ‘War’ is set several years after the events of ‘Dawn’ and the new film offers no explanation or comment in regards to what happened to those characters.
However, the film’s director Matt Reeves has revealed on the Happy Sad Confused podcast this week that one of the earlier drafts of the script explicitly touched upon Malcolm’s fate – his actions leading him to cross paths with Woody Harrelson’s The Colonel:
“Yeah, they were, actually, specifically Jason [Clarke]’s character was, and it was a disturbing discovery. The Colonel (Harrelson) had revealed some information about a man who’d come to him when he first got to the city and impressed upon him how important it was to find Caesar, and to tell him that he needed to create peace with this man. That this Ape was not just an Ape but was a great leader, and he thought this guy was crazy.
And now he (Colonel), in the scene with Caesar, says that he now sees what he meant, and Caesar says, ‘Well, what happened to him?’ And The Colonel said, ‘I killed him.’ Caesar is perplexed and asks why, and The Colonel says, ‘His ideas were very dangerous because the ideas were like a virus and they could spread to others, and right now this is a fight for humanity.’ So that’s what happened.”
Reeves went on to say he wound up cutting the moment for story reasons as it didn’t organically fit into the scene in question in the new film. This quote is the closest fans will get to know the truth, and it’s a darker answer than some probably expected – not unsurprising though as ‘War’ is already said to be the darkest of the reboot trilogy to date.
“War for the Planet of the Apes” opens Friday.