Jason Clarke, Kodi-Smit McPhee, Gary Oldman, And Keri Russell All Join Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

With the success of Rupert Wyatt's revival of the classic Planet of the Apes series with Rise of the Planet of Apes, a sequel was inevitable from the start of the first film. And now we are getting our sequel in the form of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, although it isn't the sequel we were expecting, it is still one to be greatly excited for. With director Rupert Wyatt having left the project, and star James Franco making it sound like he isn't returning, Dawn seems to be taking a whole new story on while still centering around Caeser (Andy Serkis). Now director Matthew Reeves (Cloverfield) has added some big names to the film including Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Kodi-Smit McPhee (ParaNorman), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises), and Keri Russell (Felicity).
So from what we know so far, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set very apart from it's predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and is set to take place fifteen years in San Francisco after the events of the first film and will focus on the last human survivors of the virus introduced in the first film as well as the ape evolution itself. So basically we can plan on seeing a much more progressed evolution lead by Caeser (Andy Serkis) then in the previous film and a strong lack of humans who have been killed off by the virus, and Clarke, McPhee, Oldman, and Russell will all be playing the survivors of this catastrophe fighting on to keep their race alive.
It seems to be a very surprising move advancing so far up into the ape revolution already, with the fact that Rise of the Planet of the Apes was so well by both fans of the original series and movie goers for going back to the origin of the apes rise to power in the first place. But we probably could've seen this big change coming as soon as Rupert Wyatt left the project for creative differences with the studio (He most likely wanted to continue where the last film left off), where as Matt Reeves seems to be taking the post apocalyptic route similar to his film Cloverfield.
Whether this was the right move for the series or not we won't know till we see more from the film, but as of yet the film seems to be getting off to a great start with a very well put together cast. One of the things that I mention if my Rise of the Planet of the Apes review that I had a problem with was the strong cast that wasn't really used to their full potential in the film. While Caeser is given a lot of great character development, the humans in the film themselves, especially Franco and Pinto really didn't have much depth to them, even in comparison to other human characters played by John Lithogow and Tom Felton. With such a strong cast coming on for Dawn, we can only hope that they're used to their full potential here and more balance is set between the humans and apes of the film.
Jason Clarke is set to be playing the lead in the film, Clarke has recently proven himself in Katherine Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty and will be basically taking the spot left vacant by Franco. Kodi-Smit McPhee is a less surprising choice as he's worked with director Matt Reeves in the past on his Let Me In remake, and he's best none for his critically acclaimed performance opposite Viggo Mortensen in The Road, as well as most recently voicing the lead in ParaNorman. Gary Oldman is best known for most recently portraying Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy has been keeping his schedule busy, recently with a role in the RoboCop remake, and he'll be portraying the head of the group of scientist in San Francisco, and the main rival of Caeser. Actress Keri Russell will be taking on the female lead, most likely as a love interest of Clarke's character, and she's most recently been seen in the FX series The Americans and in the film Dark Skies but is best known for her role as the lead in J.J. Abram's Felicity.
So what do you think of these casting choices? Are you happy with these choices or do you prefer the actors from the first film?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will hit theaters May 23rd, 2014