Move aside, Snakes on a Plane, because there’s a new exotic-animal-plus-unusual-mode-of-transportation combo in town. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has been filming in New Orleans and Vancouver for a while now and, in the wake of the press release and full synopsis from Twentieth Century Fox, director Matt Reeves has shared the first set photo from the shoot.

To give the image a little context, the sequel picks up ten years after the conclusion of the last film, as Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads his growing band of apes into a new civilization. Much of humanity has been killed off by the deadly virus that was unleashed and spread across the globe, but Caesar and his group encounter a small band of human survivors and attempt to create a truce between the two species.

The early meeting between the humans and the apes is what is apparently being shown in the picture tweeted by Reeves earlier today. It shows Andy Serkis and another “ape” in motion capture suits, riding noble black steeds and confronting a rather nervous-looking Jason Clarke. It’s difficult to identify most of the actors in the background, but the woman on the far left is Keri Russell, who plays the female human lead for the film.


This single image actually tells us a whole lot about what to expect from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and how it will be the “missing link” between Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the classic 60s movie. First of all, those horses are fully saddled-up, which means that Caesar hasn’t been wasting the last decade, but has been building up a proper fledgling nation, with stables, apparently. The apes were seen riding horses and using firearms in the original Charlton Heston film, and it’s possible that once Serkis is converted into his ape form in post-production he’ll also be carrying a weapon in this scene.

The more interesting aspect of the photo, however, is the fact that the apes and the humans seem to be talking. Again, it looks like Caesar hasn’t just been cooling his heels for the last ten years, which is lucky, because it’s unlikely that the peace talks described in the synopsis would get very far if the two parties didn’t speak the same language.

Like what you’ve seen and heard about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes so far? Can you put names to any of the faces in the background? Discuss this first look at the movie in the comments below.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens in U.S. theaters on May 23rd, 2014

Source: Matt Reeves