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Comic-Con 2013: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Panel

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,’ the sequel to ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ tagged along for 20th Century Fox’s Comic-Con 2013 panel on Saturday, Jul. 20 at Hall H, along with ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ and ‘The Wolverine.’

Director of ‘Dawn,’ Matt Reeves, took the stage to introduce the sequel to ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes.’ “The thing that blew me away about ‘Rise’ … watching ‘Rise’ made me an ape,” he said, referencing the film’s connectivity to its audience. “When that movie ended, there was sort of a viral apocalypse … ['Dawn'] was really about how we were gonna get [to the ‘Planet of the Apes’].”

From there, he introduced some of the cast – Jason Clarke, Keri Russell and Andy Serkis. One of the biggest challenges for Caesar, said Serkis, was giving him leadership responsibilities. “Caesar is now in a position where all apes are strong,” he said. He has a family, a wife and kid, a counsel, and ‘Dawn’ sees how he interacts with the new humans he encounters.

“I’m here because of Matt,” said Russell, who praises how the director imagined each group of humans and apes having these sorts of families and relationships.

“There’s the great, sexy Andy Serkis leading the way,” said Clarke, who was most excited about the action in the film. “To Fox’s credit, they’ve went and hired Cirque du Soleil guys, parkour guys … in the end we all just wanna find our inner ape.”

To Matt, it helps to know what comes later on in the larger ‘Planet of the Apes’ universe. “We know where it goes, so it’s all about, How do we get there? … The movie is really about character and psychology.”

“We shot until 5 in the morning [before coming to Comic-Con],” said Reeves. “But here’s the crazy thing … it takes 10-12 weeks to create one ape shot.” That said, what the panel had to show was a tease, which was way more than anyone else had seen.

Based on the footage, the remaining humans have been dealing with not only the plague but conflict amongst them. Following some shifting images of guns being shot, panicking human crowds, and Gary Oldman shooting off a dozen rounds at someone and urging the population to remember who the enemy is, we hear Clarke in the middle of the woods, howling in the trees for Caesar. And, yes, we got our first look at the new Caesar, who has faint, white warpaint with a single red stripe down the middle of his forehead.

It looked pretty amazing and we can’t wait to see it next summer. ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Enrique Murciano, Kirk Acevedo and Judy Greer, and is set for release on July 18, 2014.

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