Sci-fi sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is arriving a week earlier than originally expected this summer, thanks to a release date change-up, which is just further evidence that there’s no holding back the steady tread of evolution. Picking up ten years after the conclusion of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel finds the intelligent apes of Earth navigating the earliest days of their independence.

Andy Serkis reprises his role as Caesar, the leader of the apes, who is now married (that must have been an awesomely strange wedding) to Cornelia (Judy Greer) and has a son called River (Nick Thurston). Other returning primates include Karin Konoval as the shrewd orangutan, Maurice, and Toby Kebbell as fierce, one-eyed Koba.

The official site for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes includes some interesting backdrops for each page, which offer a glimpse into what the world looks like after it has been devastated by the Simian Flu.  The movie will find humanity and Caesar’s apes on much more equal footing as one species deteriorates and the other grows stronger, which means that we may as well start by checking out who has the better living quarters.

The ape settlement has some nice earthy tones, but also looks rather hostile. One image, for example, looks like a World War One trench made out of bits of tree. There’s also evidence that the apes have mastered a pictorial language for ease of communication and planning. Director Matt Reeves has said that the apes won’t yet have learned to speak fluent English – which isn’t all that surprising considering they’ve been living segregated from humanity – but at least they seem to have mastered the art of horseback riding.

Speaking of humanity, the lesser-furred apex predators of the world have been kept busy with the effort of not getting killed off by the Simian Flu and, according to the trailer, followed those efforts up by fighting amongst themselves. San Francisco isn’t looking very healthy, but a semblance of civilization remains and is attempting to rebuild, led by the efforts of Gary Oldman’s character, Dreyfus.

Apes and humans do not have much – if any – contact at the beginning of the film, as they have each gone down very different paths in the decade since the outbreak of the virus. Malcolm (Jason Clarke) eventually reaches out to Caesar in the hopes of creating peace between the two species. For now we’re going to assume, based on the war-painted apes in the posters, that these negotiations don’t necessarily go smoothly.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes arrives in theaters on July 11, 2014.

Source: Twentieth Century Fox (via SlashFilm)