The producers of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have teamed up wth Motherboard (VICE’s short films channel) to create Before the Dawn, a series of short films meant to bridge the gap between Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the forthcoming sequel. The three films, spanning the course of a decade, answer several questions about how the tables turn towards the apes’ favor, and how our future rulers began to appropriate certain pieces—and weapons—of human culture.
As you’ll remember, Rise ended with the Simian Flu—unknowingly unleashed by super-smart ape Caesar (Andy Serkis)—making its way across the globe thanks to humans airports and airplanes. But if you’ve been hoping for more than that snazzy and chilling credits sequence, these shorties will start to fill in the blanks for how an Alzheimer’s cure took down most of the human race. Not to mention how we get to Caesar intimidating Gary Oldman and the rest of the ragtag human resistance.
Spread of the Simian Flu: Quarantine (Year 1) looks like a more intense version of our avian flu and swine flu fears, with a young family embracing each other in their surgical masks and clinging to hope:
Fast-forward a few years to Struggling to Survive: All Fall Down (Year 5), and you’ve got siblings protecting each other, no parents in sight. You know what we do glimpse, however? Bright eyes watching the scared humans from the trees:
By the time we get to Story of the Gun: The Gun (Year 10), only the humans who are immune to the Simian Flu have survived, and their society has splintered so that it’s every man for himself. This film, the longest of the three, is more creative in its storytelling, tracking the decade-plus lifespan of a shotgun:
What’s interesting—and a smart move—is that we never actually see the apes. The film promises plenty of that when it comes to theaters July 11.