The studio has brought aboard a new writer to continue work on the screenplay for the next film, which will follow the ongoing simian revolution that began in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Z. Burns has signed on to write the project for Fox and Chernin Entertainment.
Burns tried his hand at cinematic societal breakdown last year with director Steven Soderbergh's effective, unsettling viral epidemic thriller Contagion. The writer behind the underrrated The Informant! continues his collaborations with Soderbergh on the director's currently-filming The Bitter Pill starring Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum. Burns, a producer on An Inconvenient Truth, also contributed to the screenplay for The Bourne Ultimatum.
Husband and wife team Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa wrote Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and the duo has done work on the sequel script, but it remains unknown whether Burns will be working from their drafts or starting from scratch.
Since the prequel grossed $481 million worldwide and proved that there's plenty of life left in the 44-year old film property, Fox has been moving ahead on the next installment without rushing to get a sequel underway. Director Rupert Wyatt is committed to return, while Andy Serkis will once again don a motion-capture suit to play Caesar, the hyper-intelligent Chimpanzee who kickstarts the ape-ocalypse.™
Caesar stole the show the last time around and all the human characters were pretty much ciphers existing purely to move the story along. As such, nobody seems terribly concerned about the potential return of leads James Franco and Freida Pinto. Hopefully Burns will be able to bring some more humanity to the story's actual humans this time around, and perhaps we'll then care more about the scientist who inadvertently handed Earth over to the apes.