‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ director Matt Reeves on the sequel’s original ending

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger, but director Matt Reeves has revealed that the sequel initially concluded on an even more open-ended note. 

In an interview with Slashfilm, the rather longwinded Reeves details what originally happened to  Caesar and the gang in the “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” sequel, an ending that was shot but later deleted for reasons he enumerates below.

Spoilers ahead, obviously:

The theatrical cut of the film concludes with Caesar looking to the horizon after being told that the battle with the humans (and, subsequently Koba) was just the beginning and that there was an armada of human warships headed toward San Francisco to engage the apes.

“After the ending that you see in the final film, the idea was that the apes went out on a kind of exodus through the city and they gathered on the Golden Gate Bridge in order to look into the distance for the approaching warships. And I felt that it was taking us too far into the next movie. And almost starting the next movie and not letting the emotion of what had just happened, of what Caesar had just achieved and what Caesar had the price that he had paid.”

He went on to describe a little more about the battered Navy appearing on the horizon, not too dissimilar to the ending of Mel Gibson's “Apocalypto,” although in a vastly different context.

“It was actually [Caesar] on top of the Golden Gate Bridge which was covered in apes, all looking out way, way into the distance and to see this really like messed up armada way in the distance showing up like…ships in disrepair. And it moved into his eyes as he took in the uncertain future.”

With “Dawn” cleaning up at the box office, Reeves is already signed on to direct a follow-up, which will likely depict all-out war between the apes and the humans.

Although Reeves said the ending won”t be on the DVD/Blu-ray, the home release will feature some other deleted footage.

“I ended up taking out a couple sequences that I loved because I thought the movie played better without them,” Reeves added. “And we will put those somewhere on the DVD or an extended cut or something.” 

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” stars Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis and Tobey Kebbell.

What do you think of that original ending? Would it have been an improvement or a detriment to the film?