Disney Has New ‘Planet of the Apes’ in the Works with ‘Maze Runner’ Director

20th Century Fox

Disney is gearing up to tackle its first big, established Fox franchise that’s come with its acquisition.

A new Planet of the Apes film is now in the works, with Maze Runner film series director Wes Ball hired to spearhead development and direct. THR broke the news, reporting that it’s still unclear whether this will be a franchise reboot or a continuation of the recent trilogy.

“l’ll say this about Apes… I grew up on the original and absolutely love the previous trilogy,” Ball said on social media.

“I would only do this if I felt I could offer something special while still honoring what’s come before. We have something that’s shaping up to be an awesome chapter to this franchise.”

The sci-fi film franchise began with the 1968 feature Planet of the Apes, which was based on a novel by French author Pierre Boulle and starred Charlton Heston as an astronaut who discovers a planet run by apes – with humans as the primitive, enslaved species. Four films followed, as well as a live-action series, and the brand spawned books, comics and other media.

Tim Burton directed a Mark Wahlberg-starring remake in 2001, although the film wasn’t very well received. Fox found renewed success in the Apes franchise by going the prequel route, with Rupert Wyatt-directed 2011 film Rise of the Planet Apes receiving acclaim and performing well at the box office. Matt Reeves (director of the upcoming The Batman) directed the two follow-ups – 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes – to, again, wide success. The recently trilogy draw over $US1.6 billion at the box office.

Ball directed a hit trilogy with the three Maze Runner films, which are so far his sole feature credits as director. The franchise earned close to $US1 billion in worldwide box office receipts from modestly-sized budgets, which will certainly place Ball in studio good books. The filmmaker was lined up to direct a big-budget adaptation of the comic book Mouse Guard and some impressive test footage had even been crafted, but the project was discarded by Disney during the Fox acquisition.

Stay tuned for what’s next in the Apes saga…

20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows.