Hollywood movies have taught us many times over that messing around with science too carelessly can have very bad consequences, but if you happen to be an ape (of the non-human variety, mind you) then Rise of the Planet of the Apes could probably be considered to have a very happy ending. The same virus that gifted humanity’s hairy cousins with extreme intelligence had a somewhat less positive effect on humanity itself, quickly devastating the world’s population in the space of a single ending credits animation.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up ten years later, with ape leader Caesar now a leader and a father within a growing ape civilization. Humanity has taken a terrible blow but hasn’t been wiped out yet, and a small group of humans led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) leave their nearby settlement and reach out to the apes in the hope of establishing a truce.

As the name of the film suggests, peaceful co-existence between apes and humans isn’t likely to last as a long-term solution, and the latest batch of stills from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, released by USA Today, don’t offer up much hope either. While there are some glimpses of the humans and apes sharing common ground without clawing each other to pieces, the overall tone indicates that a war is on the horizon – and now the apes know how to use shotguns (click any of the following images to enlarge).

Sadly none of the images show Caesar’s wise orangutan compatriot Maurice, but rest assured that he hasn’t died off in the interim years between Rise and Dawn. A TV spot released recently showed Maurice on horseback next to Caesar on the front line of the apes’ war party, with Koba (Toby Kebbell) as his second-in-command.

The images and trailers so far have certainly hinted at a much less forgiving Caesar than the ape who insisted on minimal human casualties during the clash on the bridge at the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Could this be the start of a war that wipes humanity out altogether?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens in U.S. theaters on July 11th, 2014.

Source: USA Today