Caesar is War-Painted and Grizzled in the Planet of the Apes Teaser

We saw the first teaser trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes just now at Comic-Con — and damn, Caesar has changed a lot.

Top image: Viral site Apes2014.com, via IGN

This movie takes place a decade after Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Caesar is older and more seasoned — and way more terrifying. We caught one super intense shot of Caesar, as the trailer zooms out from his eyes. He's covered with war paint and his face is aged and grim as he stands in front of his group of apes. A human is calling out "I want to talk to Caesar!" and he does not respond. Instead, he sits there and slowly brings down one hand, signalling his ape army to charge.

That's actually the final shot of the teaser we saw. The rest of the short teaser focused on the hardship the human race is underdoing after the plague at the end of the first movie. People are crammed into small refugee camps, struggling to survive, hiding in the forest. A human, probably Jason Clarke, is shouting to the other humans that they need to know what they're up against — and "it's not just about power, it's about giving us the hope to rebuild what we've lost."

Caesar is War-Painted and Grizzled in the Planet of the Apes Teaser

But that one powerful glimpse of an aged and terrible Caesar shows just how little that hope may actually count for.

Director Matt Reeves told the audience that he wanted to be an ape when he was a little kid, watching the 1968 Planet of the Apes film and buying a store-bought ape mask that didn't have a mouth that opened. When he saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he finally felt like he was getting to be an ape — not physically, but emotionally. And in this film, he wanted a Caesar-centric film that would make the audience feel like apes, "on a grander scale" than the first one.

We all know how this story will end, Reeves told us — but the excitement of this film is finding out why, he says. And the answer to that goes to the heart of who we humans are as animals, and our psychology as a race.

Andy Serkis told us that Caesar is maturing now — he's no longer a young ape learning to be a hero, he's a leader of 2000 apes, trying to bring in the humanity he was close to when he was growing up and create an egalitarian society. Caesar is "in a position where all the apes together are strong," he said. This time, we see Caesar and the other apes learning to communicate, not just with ape vocalizations, but with words. "It's fertile ground."

And Clarke told us the movie hired actual Cirque du Soleil acrobats to perform as apes in this film, and it was amazing to watch them tumbling and leaping about the set.