A year ago we told you that Scott Frank was writing and directing a movie that would be essentially a ground-up reimagining of Conquest of the Planet Of the Apes; called Caesar it would be about a genetically altered simian that led an ape revolution. Click here to read that initial report.

And that was the last we heard of it.

Until now. It turns out that Frank has left the project and the future of Caesar remains up in the air at Fox; my guess is that the project goes back on the shelf for the time being. Or rather that it’s been on the shelf; my sources indicate that Frank has been off the movie for a little while now.

So what killed Caesar? Exactly what you’d expect from Fox: it was too expensive and seen as too dark. I’m not sure what other tone they were expecting from a movie about the end of humanity; maybe something with more uplift. I haven’t read Frank’s draft, but I’m guessing the film might have been too cerebral for the studio as well; Frank’s a smart writer, and Fox makes movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine. You can see how this wasn’t always a good fit.

I’m kind of bummed. Frank’s take on the material sounded unique and different enough that it wouldn’t have been a shameless remake of what came before. I’m always for smart, thought-provoking scifi, and that’s what this was shaping up to be. Here’s hoping the Planet of the Apes IP manages to stay dormant for the rest of the current regime. Maybe whoever comes next will understand that the original series was dark and daring and smart and will be interested in going that way again.