Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes pays unexpected tribute to Caesar (2024)

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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes spoilers follow.

It's been seven years since the ending of War for the Planet of the Apes broke us all by killing off Caesar in a heartbreaking finale.

The series has been revived in new movie Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, which was originally expected to focus on Caesar's son Cornelius. However, the first trailer revealed the lead of the movie was actually Noa, played by Owen Teague.

It might leave you wondering whether the new movie features Caesar at all or if it leaves the previous trilogy behind.

Without going into detailed spoilers, we can confirm that Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes does (sort of) feature Caesar, while the legacy of the previous trilogy and Caesar's role in it certainly hangs over the entire plot.

If that's all you want to know, then leave now and go and enjoy the movie in cinemas. If you want to know more though, let's dig into the events of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes and how it connects to Caesar.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes pays unexpected tribute to Caesar (1)

Is Caesar in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes?

In an unexpected move, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes actually starts shortly after the death of Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes.

The movie opens with Caesar's funeral and we see Maurice pay tribute to his friend by doing the sign language for "apes together strong", leading the rest of the apes to follow suit out of respect for their fallen leader.

It's an emotional start to Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, before it jumps ahead "many generations later" to switch focus to Noa.

Director Wes Ball has said the new movie takes place around 300 years after the trilogy, so none of the characters has a direct link to Caesar. He has become a kind of mythological figure in the world, utilised for good and bad.

On the bad side, there's Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand) who has more knowledge than most of Caesar and the past, but wants to use that to control apes and also to salvage former technology to speed up the evolution of the apes as the dominant species.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes pays unexpected tribute to Caesar (2)

Proximus takes Caesar's words and twists them to his own purpose, but luckily there's also Raka (Peter Macon), an orangutan who Noa meets on his journey to save his tribe from Proximus.

Raka is the last member of the Order of Caesar, a following who pledged to spread the word of Caesar for good, hoping to lead to the closer collaboration between apes and humans that Caesar always strived for.

It's a challenge as "too many have forgotten who he was" – which is how Proximus is able to use Caesar to better his own cause.

"Caesar is in this new movie, spiritually, throughout everything. His ideas of morality and decency and his relationship with humans – all that is explored through an almost mythical lens that I think is exciting," Ball explained in the production notes.

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Is Caesar's son in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes?

Given that the movie is set around 300 years later, Caesar's son Cornelius is not in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes beyond that opening scene.

There's no sense that any of the characters, including Noa, are connected in any way to Caesar. But since this is planned to be the start of a new trilogy, perhaps it's something the story will reveal later down the line.

But telling the story of Cornelius was never something that Ball was "interested in doing".

"I appreciate some people want that but for me it's so wrought with dangerous waters to tread into because you'll always be compared to the previous movies and all that kind of stuff," he told GamesRadar.

"So, there's certainly room for someone somewhere to do some of that story – that exists somewhere. But for us, we thought the right move was to kind of get some distance from those movies and see how we can start fresh with what was very strong roots."

For more on Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, check out:

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes review
Does Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes have a post-credits scene?
How long is Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes?
When will Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes be on Disney+?

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is out now in cinemas.

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Ian Sandwell

Movies Editor, Digital Spy Ian has more than 10 years of movies journalism experience as a writer and editor. Starting out as an intern at trade bible Screen International, he was promoted to report and analyse UK box-office results, as well as carving his own niche with horror movies, attending genre festivals around the world. After moving to Digital Spy, initially as a TV writer, he was nominated for New Digital Talent of the Year at the PPA Digital Awards. He became Movies Editor in 2019, in which role he has interviewed 100s of stars, including Chris Hemsworth, Florence Pugh, Keanu Reeves, Idris Elba and Olivia Colman, become a human encyclopedia for Marvel and appeared as an expert guest on BBC News and on-stage at MCM Comic-Con. Where he can, he continues to push his horror agenda – whether his editor likes it or not.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes pays unexpected tribute to Caesar (2024)

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