When 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' concluded, Caesar had led his army of super-smart apes into the relative safety of the California forest as a deadly virus was starting to make its way across the entire planet. The upcoming 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' pics up some time later, with most humanity decimated while ape civilization thrives. Among the casualties of the epidemic is James Franco's Will Rodman, the human lead from the previous film.

But this is James Franco we're talking about -- he's going to appear in any and every film he possibly can, even if his character is six feet under.

In EW's summer movie preview (via The Playlist), it's revealed that Franco's ape expert will make a posthumous cameo, speaking from beyond the grave in a video. The full nature of the appearance is still unknown, but we can't imagine it being more than the tiniest of tiny scenes. After all, not even Franco himself was aware that he was in the film until he was asked about it, saying:

Wait, I have a cameo? I didn’t know that. You know, I don’t even think they asked my permission to do that.

Then again, that could always be Franco being coy. He certainly has a sense of humor about himself and his work.

In any case, an appearance by Franco in the new film will be a weird reminder the weakest aspects of 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes,' which truly came to life when the humans yielded the spotlight to Andy Serkis and his team of mo-cap apes. 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' looks to rectify that problem, casting great actors like Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke as the resident humans. Hopefully, the Franco cameo will be a bridge between the two films and not just a needless callback to the worst moments of an otherwise terrific movie.

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is directed by Matt Reeves and opens in theaters on July 11, 2014.