Next month sees the release of a new Planet of the Apes movie – the eighth in a patchy, up-and-down series that has run for almost half a century.
These have never been the most crisply titled movies, 1968's Planet of the Apes, followed by Beneath the Planet of the Apes, then Escape from the Planet of the Apes and later Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. When the franchise was relaunched in 2011, due respect was paid to the tradition of clunky titles, and the new film was called Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Next month's follow-up, starring Gary Oldman, will be called Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Catchy! What will these films be called in five, 10 instalments' time?
■ Recently we've followed slow, slow progress in the development of the nascent Planet of the Apes – its rise, its dawn – so expect the next couple of films to continue slow-playing the story. Still Early Days on the Planet of the Apes will be followed by Things Really Are Beginning to Happen Now on the Planet of the Apes.
■ Eventually this planet of apes will just exist. Then producers can start giving it texture. Perhaps Andy Serkis's main monkey Caesar, who began to show signs of human intelligence in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, will begin to build up the infrastructure of his new simian world: Planning the Planet of the Apes. Will democracy survive All the President's Monkeys? Rapid industrialisation leads to a series of geological disasters in Planet of the Apes Asks Itself Serious Questions About Climate Change. Undergrad hijinks in Planet of the Apes University.
■ I envisage an arthouse turn for Hotel Planet of the Apes. Broad comedy will be the order of the day in Planet of the Apes Goes Bananas, while producers will be looking for Oscar recognition for their serious, unflinching 12 Years a Human. Inspiration waning, there'll be a tour around the genres – first Around the Planet of the Apes in 80 Days (a family comedy) and From the Planet of the Apes with Love (monkey spies).
■ The straighter summer blockbuster War on the Planet of the Apes will lead, neatly, to Annihilation of the Planet of the Apes. After that, completing a circle, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2 will start the story afresh. At this point the franchise should need reinvigorating, and a trendy director can be brought in to catch everybody off-guard with a film called, simply, Apes. Or Planet.
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