In its current form, 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' concludes on a dark and downbeat note, setting up a future film while placing its major characters on a desperate new path. But the original ending was even darker and now we have a glimpse at that footage and a look at what could have been.

Spoilers for 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' begin here, so proceed at your own peril!

'Apes' concludes with Caesar killing Koba and regaining control of his people at a huge cost. The human resistance has succeeded in contacting the remnants of the United States military, who are en route to help deal with the ape situation once and for all. The final version of the film ends with Caesar standing amidst his family and his tribe, facing an uncertain future. But, the original ending actually featured the arrival of a battleship presumably filled with armed soldiers.

Watch the trailer again and you'll notice this shot at 1:51.



Screenwriter Mark Bomback went on the Q&A podcast and gave more details about the original ending:

...[there was] a version where you see the arrival of other humans. We had the apes retreating to Muir Woods afterwards, going across the bridge and in the far distance you see a battleship starting to arrive ... On a purely character level, it’s Caesar’s story. Why are we leaving Caesar at the end of his story? We want to end on his emotional place, not on a battleship.

Good call, guys. As it stands right now, the ending is pretty much perfect. It ends with our lead character in a moment of crisis, not with a CGI boat showing up. It's a case where leaving more to the imagination benefits the film and its characters more than a special effects shot. Actually seeing the military threat and watching the apes run for their lives would have been darker, but it wouldn't have been as powerful. Still, it's always interesting to see what could have been and we look forward to checking out the full alternate ending on the Blu-ray release.

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is currently in theaters and it's really, really good.