According to THR Scott Z. Burns has been hired to write the script for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel. Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa, writers of the first film, were hired to get started on the first draft earlier this year, but now Burns will come on-board to re-write.
Burns was responsible for Steven Soderbergh’s virus thriller Contagion, which makes him a suitable candidate for the Apes sequel given how the first film ended last summer. Previously director Rupert Wyatt said the sequel may take place several years after the events of the first film with humans potentially living underground and apes taking over cities, aided by a virus that causes the collapse of human society.
So far Andy Serkis is the only cast member signed to return, and will reprise his role of Caesar. I suppose if humans are all getting virused it could give them a reason not to include James Franco and Freida Pinto, but I wouldn’t be against them returning (even though the main draws are WETA’s apes, chimps, gorillas, and orangutans).
Fox Chairman and CEO of Filmed Entertainment Tom Rothman recently said they are aiming for a summer 2014 release for the sequel, so filming will likely begin sometime next year.