Matt Reeves, 46, will direct Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the upcoming sequel to the 2011 hit, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, according to Deadline. Reeves, who directed 2008's Cloverfield, stepped in after Rise director Rupert Wyatt backed out over reported conflicts with Fox's projected May 2014 release date. Other directors rumored to be in consideration were Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), and Rian Johnson (Looper).

News of a sequel comes after Rise of the Planet of the Apes vastly exceeded expectations and won over the approval of critics (nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects) and fans ($483 million in worldwide box office grosses). Rise was a reboot and prequel to 1968's Planet of the Apes, and Dawn will continue in this connecting vein.

James Franco's involvement in the sequel is still up in the air, but Andy Serkis will be back as Caesar, the chimpanzee leader of the apes. Serkis's performance was widely praised, and there was even talk of him garnering an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, despite being digitally rendered on screen. Though the nomination did not come to pass, Serkis did receive recognition from a slew of other outlets, including nabbing the Saturn Award (celebrating science fiction, fantasy and horror) for Best Supporting Actor.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes certainly has a tough act to follow, and with a new face in the director's chair and a highly anticipated release, the pressure is on for the sequel to perform. –Hal Sundt

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