Between Rupert Wyatt’s 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Matt Reeve’s upcoming follow up Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, ten years elapses—in that world, obviously not in the real world. A lot can happen in a decade, and in fact, quite a bit does in this story. A new video looks to fill the gaps between the events of the two movies, and should get you prepared for Dawn.
Framed as a collage of news and archival footage, it is doubtful that any of this will appear in the actual film, but this video does a solid job of describing the world after the super smart chimp Caesar (Andy Serkis) frees his fellow apes and makes a break for it. See, in their wake, they inadvertently spread a nasty new virus that wipes out more than half of the human race. Dubbed the Simian Flu, the disease is actually a man made creation, it came from a lab.
The post-Rise landscape is also ground covered in the new novel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm (which we should have a review of up this weekend if you’re interested), but that story doesn’t necessarily jive with what we see here. This version shows a more gradual crumbling of society that takes place over a number of years. You see hints a few cases of the disease show up here and there, generally ignored, until it is too late and it has spread so far it is unstoppable. In the book, which is purportedly an official tie in, the pandemic spreads much quicker. It starts in San Francisco, but goes global in a relatively short time. There is the chance that, after the initial onslaught, things calm down to a more manageable degree—that would take place after the events of Firestorm—so it will be interesting to see how, or if, they reconcile these two accounts.
The action of Dawn follows a group of human survivors looking for a place to settle. In the wake of the plague, human society has crumbled, but the apes, immune to the disease, have thrived and evolved. Coming to an uneasy accord, the two sides coexist peacefully for a time, but this is not destined to last. Other humans push the apes to the brink and war breaks out. Since this is the Planet of the Apes franchise, and we’ve seen the other movies, we know where this conflict ultimately ends, and it isn’t good for us.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes stars Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Judy Greer, Toby Kebbell, Kirk Acevedo, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, and opens everywhere in 3D July 11.