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If ever there were a franchise built on the concept of "almost," it would have to be the reboot to Planet Of The Apes. Particularly with Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, there seemed to be a lot of alteration and change between the written drafts of the script and what eventually made it onto film. First the film almost took place much later in the future, then it almost ended with a vision of impending military doom. Now we've learned that Rupert Wyatt's Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, much like its successor, underwent a revision of its ending.
Blogger Maurice Mitchell, operator of Film Sketchr, landed a brilliant exclusive from concept artist Brian Cunningham, and when we say brilliant we mean brilliant. The ending we saw with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was Will Rodman's tearful release of Caesar into the forest, followed by a harbinger of what was to come as he and his pack looked out upon San Francisco. During the film's credits, we saw that Rodman's jerk neighbor/airline pilot Douglas Hunsiker became the second case of what would eventually be named the Simian Flu. This kicks off a chain of events that lead to the worldwide decimation that lead to the events of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.
However, in the ending originally envisioned with the help of Cunningham's steady artistic hand, we see a different chain of events play out. Now this is presumably after the credits, and in lieu of the pandemic map ending, so discard that for a second and go back to the tearful goodbye. The credits finish and we see an older, more grizzled and tattooed Caesar climbing a spiral staircase. His surroundings are decrepit, falling apart, and the air is punctuated by smoke and rain.
We see Caesar arrive at a landing, and he walks through to a ledge, surveying the apocalypse. The camera slowly pulls back, and we see that Caesar is high up above Manhattan, which is now a raging inferno. Caesar's vantage point for the end of the world? The top of the Statue of Liberty, which is starting to decay and fall apart. Cut to black, cue the studio logos. While the pandemic map was a better visual device to show the end of the world, and hint at what was to come in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, this is a chilling reference to the original franchise, and an equally unsettling image as told through Brian Cunningham's art.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is now available on Digital HD, with the physical releases being dropped on December 2nd. The next installment of the Planet Of The Apes reboot is aiming for a July 29, 2016 release.