Exclusive: Details on Woody Harrelson's Villainous War of the Planet of the Apes Role

On Thursday night, the first details of the plot for War of the Planet of the Apes were revealed by the director, producer, and lead actor at a late night New York Comic Con panel. On the heels of the well-received panel, ComicBook.com had a chance to catch up with Matt Reeves and Dylan Clark, director and producer, respectively, for an exclusive interview for some more inside scoop from the third installment of the Apes reboot.

One character who is being very much kept a secret is Woody Harrelson's Colonel. The Colonel was seen looking fierce in the first full teaser trailer shown exclusively to the New York Comic Con audience but his motives remain largely unknown.

When asked about the Colonel, enthusiastic director Reeves is quick to say that Harrelson's character transforms the movie into a "dark revenge tale," with Caesar dropping his morals and setting out on a mission.

"Woody is extraordinary," Reeves says. "He just dove in in this amazing way. His character, we don't think of any of the antagonists as villains, per say, because you have to understand where they're coming from in a justified way. The humans are in a desperate place and he is extreme and you find out why he's so extreme as the story goes on so you have empathy for him, too. He's pretty dark."

Woody Apes

Clark chimed in, revealing the Colonel comes "from a place of torment," which is something Caesar and audiences will come to realize in a fashion which will almost make the movie's bad guy relatable. "They're generally pitted together in this movie," Clark says.

During the panel, Andy Serkis - the actor who brings Caesar to life through a brilliant performance capture process - and the director/producer duo praised Harrelson's work on the film. Clark and Reeves highlights the fact that the Colonel and Caesar will be drawn to one another and tell ComicBook.com that there are so many similarities between the two that the conflict in each is almost mirrored on one another.

In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.


War for the Planet of the Apes hits theaters July 14, 2017.