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What Happened To Will Rodman In Planet Of The Apes?

There are many fans that will agree that the films "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," and "War for the Planet of the Apes" can be considered one of the most successful attempts at rebooting a franchise in cinematic history. That's a pretty impressive feat considering how beloved the classic string of original movies was, in addition to the fact that there was a reboot already attempted (and arguably failed) by Tim Burton back in 2001. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" featured Andy Serkis as the brilliant ape, Caesar, and James Franco playing his scientist caretaker, Will Rodman. However, fans were left wondering what the fate of Franco's character actually was.

You may recall that at the end of the film, there is no definite conclusion to Will's story. However, Fox's president of postproduction, Ted Gagliano, hinted that Franco's character died along with the majority of Earth's human population after a laboratory virus was unleashed. Plenty of fans have already come to this conclusion, simply based on a moment in the second installment when Caesar revisits Will's home to hide out. The scene, which takes place 10 years after we last see Will, shows a FEMA sign posted on the front door, indicating infected people inside, along with Will's old vehicle still parked out front. And although this implies Will died at home, you may be surprised to learn that the filmmaker's initial script made the character's fate much more apparent.

James Franco's character was supposed to die at the end

The character Will Rodman is quickly introduced in the first reboot film, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," along with the baby ape, Caesar. Caesar was born after being exposed to an experimental anti-Alzheimer's drug when he was still in the womb. As he grows older, it is clear to Will that the ape's intelligence level is growing exponentially, and the drug could cure the mental disease. However, Caesar exposes more of his kind to the drug, essentially building an army of highly sophisticated apes who eventually violently escape their cages and run off to the forests outside of San Francisco. Fans only get to see a respectful goodbye between Will and Caesar before the closing credits scenes reveal a worldwide spreading virus.

Despite the fact that viewers were left to their own determination of Will Rodman's fate, Fox's Ted Gagliano also revealed that not only did the character die in the original script's finale, but the actor was flown in to reshoot the ending that we all got to see in the finished film's conclusion. "We shot for three hours and (Franco) was back on the plane," Gagliano said. It wasn't explained why Will's fate wasn't more clearly explained to fans, though it can be assumed that a possible Will and Caesar reunion was a smart option to leave on the table for later films. But as audiences now know, this return was never meant to be, and according to the trilogy's plotline, neither was the human race.