Those damn dirty apes win again! First, Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt was ousted from the sequel in favor of Matt Reeves over lack of time devoted to the follow up. Next, it became clear that human lead, Will Rodman (James Franco) would play a less significant role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Now comes word straight from the Franco's mouth, via MTV, that he won't return in any capacity for the Apes sequel. I guess Caesar figured things out well enough in the first film, and can now safely ditch papa...
When asked about his involvement in Dawn of the Apes, Franco indicated we wouldn't see him with the apes again due to several off-screen changes.
Said Franco, "I was going to be a small part of the next one. There was a moment when Rupert Wyatt was going to direct the second one. A lot of the human characters that were in the first movie were dead in the sequel that Rupert was going to direct. But there was one scene, between Caesar and my character, maybe even just like on a video that was left behind, but then a lot of things happened, like [former Fox co-chairman] Tom Rothman who was a big part of the first movie, left. Now Rupert's not a part of it so I don't know. My guess is I won't be in it. Nobody's talked to me since Rupert left."
This isn't exactly the worst news of all time. Andy Serkis stole the show and then some in Rise of the Apes, and it's not as if James Franco is hurting for a paycheck. Meaning one doesn't need the other to succeed. From what I've gathered, most of the humans will be wiped off the face of the Earth in the sequel any way.
The movie is currently listed in pre-production, so don't expect to see Franco make an appearance but don't be surprised if he does either. A cameo is always a possibility. Nothing is ever set in stone with sequels.