"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is dominating the box-office right now and screenwriter Mark Bomback recently spoke with The Q&A podcast about the original ending planned for the film.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
The point of change happens after Caesar and Koba's final face-off. The decision was made not very long ago to do the current film's ending, a quiet moment between Malcolm and Caesar with the pair saying goodbye before pushing in on Caesar's eyes. Originally though, we were going to see the apes retreat back to Muir Woods as a military battleship approached San Francisco. Discussing the change, Bomback says:
"There was always a queasiness when we did it. For one thing, the people on the battleship we don't know. It's weird to end your movie with strangers and also we knew we were locking into a scenario for the next one. Why do we want to lock in?
I'm guessing when Dreyfus said there was a military base up north that's coming, that will play a role in what we do next. I don't know, does it need to? On a purely character level, it's Caesar's story. Why are we leaving Caesar at the end of his story? We want to end on his emotional place, not on a battleship."
Director Matt Reeves also spoke about it with Slashfilm, saying:
"I realized that we had skipped too much of the emotion by doing that. And that it actually in a way boxed us in too much to like the exact moment that felt like and also when we started showing this to people, some people are going wait, so does that mean the battle… like I meant for those ships to be way in the distance and they hadn't even seen the apes, because obviously the apes weren't gathering to begin the fight. The apes were gathering to look and see the fight that was coming toward them.
It was hard to render that idea. And when I showed it to some people they were like going, so that's it? They're gonna start fighting right now? And I was like well no, and I realized that we didn't have the right ending. So actually that last beat that is the last beat on Andy, this is actually kind of a cool thing too".
In fact that actual ending was partly done using the online video calling app Skype - Reeves directing the two actors on a conference call so that Andy Serkis could act out the scene in his mocap studio whilst the other two were in different parts of the world.
It's hoped fans will get to see what parts of the alternate ending they completed on an extended cut Blu-ray in the works that contains a collection of deleted scenes.