Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Wasn’t the Only Title Considered


A long-standing tradition for most Planet of the Apes sequels is a long title with a unique, fitting first word. So far there’s been Beneath, Escape, Conquest, Battle, Rise, Dawn, and War. That tradition continues with next week’s Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes which, according to director Wes Ball, was always the title he intended his film to have. But he did have one other title up his sleeve. One that brings to mind another franchise that also began at Fox and ended up at Disney.

“I had two different titles,” the director told io9 this week. “I came in when I was pitching and I had two pieces of concept art that I made. One was Empire of the Planet of the Apes and there was Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes because there’s the whole idea is that it was the first kingdom starting to form. This king, the first king ape. And obviously, we couldn’t do ‘Empire,’ as cool as it sounds… We just kept trying to think about different things and [Kingdom] kept sticking.”

The king Ball refers to is Proximus Caesar, played by Kevin Durand. Proximus is a boisterous leader building what he believes is the first kingdom of apes. To do so he aggressively, and sometimes violently, is on the hunt for both knowledge and technology. To explain more would be a spoiler.

As a result, Kingdom is a very fitting title. “Empire” would’ve worked too, but you understand the fact the second you say “Empire” you think of The Empire Strikes Back, the unforgettable Star Wars sequel. That’s a big expectation to set up for a movie, one that Ball and the team seemingly didn’t want to deal with. At least, not yet.

“It’s an important franchise for the studio,” Ball said of the Apes movies. “It’d be naive to think it’s just one [installment]. I think we went into it trying to make sure it was a fulfilling story but there’s this little epilogue that … hopefully promises a lot. You want to see more if we’re lucky enough to make more. That was the idea.”

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes opens May 10.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.



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