What happened to the humans in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Humans (Homo sapiens) are the former dominant species of Earth. But in most continuities were overtaken, and later dominated by, Ape species.


Humans are an ancient and technologically advanced civilization. Humanity had a long and storied history until war eventually led to their destruction, which brought the destruction of their civilization.

La Planète des Singes

On Soror in the Betelgeuse system, it was discovered by three French scientists that it was inhabited by humans. The humans on Soror lived in a primitive state in the jungles, whilst being hunted by the intelligent simians. Apparently ten thousand years ago the human society on Soror was advanced in biological study, but experienced a species-wide mental regression, while the apes drastically evolved mentally.

Planet of the Apes TV Series

Human civilization survived, at least in New York City, until at least the year 2500.

Planet of the Apes

The humans of 3978 are shown to have devolved to a primitive state and are shown harvesting food from the trees until they are hunted by gorilla soldiers. The human children are kept as pets while adults are kept in cages.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes

The humans are still prisoners of the apes. When the Alpha-Omega Bomb goes off, the humans and all other life on the planet perishes when the planet is destroyed.

Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Travelling to 1973, Cornelius recalls from his history that a disease brought to Earth from outer space by astronauts had killed all of the world's cats and dogs. Apes became household pets to replace the pets they lost from the deadly disease and, over the course of a few centuries, became slaves.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes/Battle for the Planet of the Apes

In the year 1991, cats and dogs have already become extinct and humans put apes into slave labour due to their ability to learn and adapt, but they eventually rebelled, taking control of Ape Management and achieving their freedom.

The result of the war exterminated a large population and human cities were left destroyed by nuclear weapons which were being used in the war.

In post war society, apes and the surviving humans manage to cope in peace under the leadership of Caesar, who learns of the future destruction of Earth and attempts to change the future.

Planet of the Apes (2001)

The human race have been enslaved for some time on Ashlar and live in the wilderness until the "wild" humans are hunted, captured and caged. Limbo is a human-slave salesman.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes/Dawn of the Planet of the Apes/War for the Planet of the Apes

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The artificial virus ALZ-113, developed by Dr. Will Rodman as an aggressive viral disease cure, instantly both increased the intelligence of ape species and killed most of the human population of the planet around the year 2016. The few surviving humans are immune to the virus. However, the virus later mutates and reduces any surviving human infected with it, including those previously immune, into an animalistic state.


What happened to the humans in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

George Taylor - a human astronaut depicted in the original APJAC film series

What happened to the humans in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The Planet of the Apes reboot series has done an excellent job with charting the development of Caesar and his ape allies, but with each new installment in this series comes a brand new cast of human characters. This wasn't as much an issue for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes since it can be assumed that most, if not all, of the humans in Rise of the Planet of the Apes died from the virus outbreak. But for War for the Planet of the Apes, there won't be any mention on what happened to Dawn's main human characters. Fortunately, director Matt Reeves has cut fans a break and revealed what happened to Jason Clarke's character, Malcolm: he was killed by Woody Harrelson's Colonel McCullough. When asked if Clarke and Keri Russell's Dawn characters were ever mentioned in a War script, Reeves revealed:

Yeah, they were, actually. Specifically Jason's character was, and it was a disturbing discovery. The Colonel had revealed some information about a man who'd come to him when he first got to the city and impressed upon him how important it was to find Caesar, and to tell him that he needed to create peace with this man. That this ape was not just an ape, but was a great leader, and he thought that this guy was crazy. And now [the Colonel] said in the scene, he goes, 'I se what he meant.' And then Caesar says, 'Well, what happened to him?' And The Colonel said, "I killed him." And then [Caesar]'s is perplexed as to why, and The Colonel says, "His ideas were very dangerous because the ideas were like a virus and they could spread to others, and right now this is a fight for humanity." So that's what happened.

Matt Reeves then started to explain in his interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast why this scene was taken out of War for the Planet of the Apes, but he cut himself off for fear of divulging any spoilers. It's possible this moment might be included as a deleted scene on the War home media release, but if it isn't, at least Planet of the Apes fans know what happened to Malcolm following Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, even though it was a tragic demise.

Malcolm was introduced in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as one of the leaders of the human colony in San Francisco, and upon meeting Caesar, he tried to build an alliance with the ape leader. However, due to Koba's betrayal and Dreyfus making contact with military forces up north during the ape invasion, the war between humans and apes was officially set off. After bidding goodbye to Caesar, Malcolm left to reunite with his family. Now we know he continued to try to establish peace afterwards, and unfortunately, it cost him his life. We can only hope that Malcolm's wife, Ellie, and son, Alexander, escaped before either The Colonel killed them too or before the bloodshed erupted between the two sides.

You can see War for the Planet of the Apes in theaters now. Be sure to read our review of the movie, and keep checking back with CinemaBlend for news on the future of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

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What does the simian flu do to humans?

First, the virus has mutated, rendering the affected humans as mute. That gets us back to a similar place we saw in the original Planet of the Apes where humans couldn't speak, and so War offers an explanation as to why. The other major change is that it turns out the virus that killed humans also made all apes smart.

What is wrong with the humans in War of the Planet of the Apes?

While the original Planet of the Apes never explains why humans lost the ability to speak, War shows that it's a mutation of the original virus, the Simian Flu, which killed off a large portion of humanity following the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Why did the humans go mute Planet of the Apes?

But in War of the Planet of the Apes, the simian flu flares up again, mutating to quietly spread through the last surviving people. Immunity against the original plague is no protection against the latest form of the virus, which causes a degenerative disease that leaves humans mute and animalistic.