In 2011, ten years after the release of Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes remake, the sci-fi franchise based on the original Planet of the Apes novel by Pierre Bouelle with a new spin. Set in the present day, Rise of the Planet of the Apes set the stage for apes becoming the dominant species on Earth and most of humanity dying off from a virus. We watched this unfold through the eyes of Andy Serkis’ Caesar, with his story continuing in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes. The latter movie ended with the protagonist dying after he and his people reached their promised land.
Rather than reboot the Planet of the Apes franchise again, 20th Century Studios has decided to continue the continuity started with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Directed by Wes Ball and written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Josh Friedman, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will take place “many years” after the events of War for the Planet of the Apes and address Caesar’s legacy, but those are the only pieces of premise-related information that’s been revealed so far. Kingdom’s cast, on the other hand, is a much clearer picture, so it’s time to go over the actors who will star in this next chapter of the Apes saga.
Caesar has passed on, which means we’ll need to follow along with a new ape protagonist in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Owen Teague, known for playing Harold Lauder in The Stand (which be be watched with a Paramount+ subscription) and Patrick Hockstetter in the IT movies, has been cast as the lead primate. It’s unclear if Teague’s character will be directly related to Caesar or simply another ape who’s destined for greatness. If Caesar and Teague’s character do share blood, because the exact amount of time that’s passed since War isn’t being shared (although the movie won’t jump all the way to the time period from the original Planet of the Apes movie), it’s hard to say if he could be an older version of Caesar’s remaining son Cornelius, or instead a grandchild, great-grandchild, etc.
While some of you may remember Freya Allan playing the young version of Karen Gillan’s character Sam in Gunpowder Milkshake, there’s no question that she’s most famous for playing Ciri in The Witcher. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is now giving her the opportunity to shine in a major Hollywood production, and since Allan is only two years younger than Owen Teague, it’s entirely possible she could be playing the love interest for Teague’s character. Or maybe she’s playing one of the humans that’s managed to survive the virus. It’s hard to say at this point, just like with everyone else on this list going forward.
Fans of The Orville know Peter Macon as the actor who plays Lt. Commander Bortus, but because of all the makeup and prosthetics on his face when he’s in character, they wouldn’t not necessarily recognize the actor if they ran into him on the street. As such, I’m betting that Macon will also be playing one of the apes in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, giving him the opportunity to bring a character to life through performance capture. Whether this ape is an ally or enemy to Owen Teague’s character is another matter.
Following his time playing Scott Truman, the Red Ranger, in Power Rangers RPM, Eka Darville started capturing more mainstream attention for playing TV roles like Diego in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, Malcolm Ducasse in Jessica Jones and The Defenders, Ryan Morgan in Empire and Beau Morris in Tell Me a Story. Darville also has a few movies under his belt, but there’s no question that Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the biggest one yet.
Within the film realm, Kevin Durand has lent his talents to 3:10 to Yuma, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Russell Crowe-led Robin Hood, Real Steel, Resident Evil: Retribution and Fruitvale Station, to name a few movies. However, he’s arguably better known for his TV work thanks to roles in shows like Dark Angel, Lost, The Strain, Vikings, Swamp Thing (the 2019 version) and Locke & Key. Regardless of where you know him best from, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes gives him another blockbuster platform to shine on.
Travis Jeffrey has collected a sizable number of credits from Australian productions, including appearing in multiple episodes of shows like Gallipoli and The Heights. Stateside, however, unless you remember him from guest appearances in Preacher and Heartbreak High, or for playing minor roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Unbroken, then he’s likely never crossed your radar. Perhaps Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will pave the way for him to score roles in other Hollywood productions.
If you watched The 100 or The Flash, then you’re familiar with Neil Sandiands, as he recurred as Titus in the former’s third season, and then played the super-intelligent antagonist Clifford Defoe, a.k.a. The Thinker, in the latter’s fourth season. More recently, Sandilands appeared as General Abbot in three episodes of Netflix’s Sweet Tooth, which will return for Season 2 at some point. Given how good he is at playing villains, I could easily see him doing the same in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, whether it’s an ape or human.
The majority of Sara Wiseman’s performances hail from Australian or New Zealand productions, including the shows Rake, Shortland Street and Harrow, although the latter did run for three seasons on ABC. If you have a Peacock subscription, you might have also recently seen Wiseman in the mystery series One Of Us Is Lying. It’s safe to say, though, that there’ll be a lot of eyes pointed at her for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.
Lydia Peckham doesn’t have that big a resume just yet, but if you watched Netflix’s short-lived live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop or the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-led series Mr. Corman, then you’ll have spotted her. Hopefully Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will lead to her scoring bigger roles down the line.
Like Lydia Peckham, Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi doesn’t have a lot of acting credits on his resume, but perhaps Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will also lead to him being considered for other major projects. His established work includes Found in a Dream, Westermarck and the upcoming Disney+ series The Clearing.
William H. Macy
Last, but certainly not least, the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes cast rounds out with arguably the biggest name on here. From movies like Fargo, Air Force One, Boogie Nights and The Lincoln Lawyer, to playing Dr. David Morgenstern in over 30 episodes of ER and Frank Gallagher for the entirety of Shameless’ run on Showtime, William H. Macy has been around the acting block and then some. As such, if I was a betting man, I would put money on Macy playing a human in this next Apes movie rather than one of the primates given how recognizable his face is. But even assuming this is the case, it’d be even money whether he’s playing a villain comparable to Gary Oldman’s Dreyfus or Woody Harrelson’s The Colonel, or an ally along the lines of Jason Clarke’s Malcolm.
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters on May 24, 2024, so keep checking back for CinemaBlend for more updates on casting and the movie’s overall progress. Our 2023 release schedule is available for those of you curious about what movies come out this year, and you’re also welcome to see how we’ve ranked the Planet of the Apes movies that have come out so far.