Dawn of the Planet of the Apes reportedly takes place ten years after the conclusion of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. We’ll have to see the film to find out just what Caesar and his fellow apes are up to now, but in the meantime we’ve watched some short films and read a licensed novel that provide some information about that missing decade and humankind’s struggle with what’s been dubbed the Simian Flu.
BEFORE THE DAWN
Fox sponsored this series of short films in collaboration with VICE’s online video channel Motherboard that offer a moody glimpse at the ten years between Rise and Dawn.
Quarantine (Year 1)
Directed By: Isaiah Seret
All Fall Down (Year 5)
Directed By: Daniel Thron
The Gun (Year 10)
Directed By: thirtytwo
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES: FIRESTORM
On May 27, 2014, Titan Books published this in-between-quel novel by Greg Keyes to provide backstory and build anticipation for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Set very shortly after the conclusion of Rise, the novel is a Crichton-esque thriller that follows a number of different characters in and around San Francisco (human and ape alike) as the viral plague suggested at the end of the first film becomes a full-blown epidemic. Meanwhile, Caesar struggles to maintain the safety and freedom of his new ape community as a team of mercenaries tracks them in the Muir Woods.
Among the characters the novel follows are:
David Flynn – A reporter, he uncovers the involvement of Will Rodman and Gen Sys in the “monkeygate” scandal and the viral outbreak ravaging the world.
Malakai Youmans – A former ape hunter and mercenary (with a harrowing personal history including a stint as a child soldier), he is hired by a contractor related to Gen Sys to help track down the escaped apes.
Clancy Stoppard – A young primatologist, she is on the same team as Malakai in the search for Caesar and his apes, though her sympathies lie more with the apes than with the hunters.
Talia Kosar – An ER doctor, she has a first-hand view of the beginnings of the plague.
Dreyfus – A former Chief of Police and current mayoral candidate, he tries to prevent panic and chaos from overtaking the city. A husband and father of two teenage boys, he is portrayed as a rather decent man trying to do the right thing even at the expense of his political ambitions.
Caesar – The intelligent chimpanzee from Rise, he finds himself having to learn to trust his fellow apes as he shoulders the responsibility of leadership of his community.
Koba – The angry and damaged laboratory chimp that Caesar freed from Gen Sys in Rise, he spends the story grappling with his newfound intelligence (and the history of past mistreatment that it dredges up), as well as trying to balance his respect for Caesar, his responsibility to his community, and his rage toward humans.
As the virus spreads, Keyes weaves in references to its worldwide effects, with societal breakdowns ranging from riots to religious wars flare up. He also introduces intriguing references to a nihilistic cult (identified by the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, in a reference to the Alpha/Omega bomb the mutants worship in Beneath) that begins attacking hospitals and burning parts of the city, seeing the plague as a sign that humanity must be purged. The story ends with the failure of an attempt to capture a live ape and use it to find a cure to the plague, while Caesar and company survive the titular firestorm and escape further into the woods. Indeed, perhaps nothing marks this story as a worthy Apes tale so much as the downbeat ending (and attendant body count, with the vast majority of the human characters dead by novel’s end).