The apes shall inherit the Earth. That's the gist of an ominous new trailer for "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," which showcases the growing ape community in the wake of a global pandemic that has decimated the human population.
Directed by Matt Reeves and opening July 11, "Dawn" picks up 10 years after "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," which rebooted the post-apocalyptic franchise inspired by Pierre Boulle's 1963 sci-fi novel and became a surprise critical and box-office hit for Fox in 2011. (Reeves has also been tapped for a potential third film.)
The trailer, which you can watch above, glimpses the society created by Caesar (portrayed by Andy Serkis using performance-capture technology), a chimpanzee whose intelligence was boosted by a lab experiment. Under Caesar's guidance, a tribe of orangutans, chimps and gorillas have carved out a home in the woods north of San Francisco, where they ride horses, learn rudimentary English, build wooden structures and generally live in peace.
That is, until a group of human survivors — including former architect Malcolm (Jason Clarke), nurse Ellie (Keri Russell) and survivor leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) — encroach on their territory while trying to restore the electrical grid amid the ruins of San Francisco.
Despite Malcolm and Ellie's best intentions, the humans seem destined to come into conflict with the apes, whom many survivors blame for the devastating outbreak of simian flu that wiped out millions of people.
"We need to give them a chance," Clarke's character says.
"Malcolm, they're animals," Dreyfus replies. It's a sentiment he may come to regret.