Noa in 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes'
(20th Century Studios)

The One Character You Won’t See in ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’

The sequel won't feature any familiar faces at all—for good reason.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a continuation of the story that unfolded in the three previous Apes movies, but the new sequel doesn’t feature any familiar faces—and that includes recent series protagonist Caesar.

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The rebooted Apes franchise began with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which introduced us to Caesar, the chimpanzee protagonist played by Andy Serkis. In Rise, Caesar inherits extraordinary cognitive abilities from his mother, a chimpanzee used as a test subject for a new drug to combat Alzheimer’s. When he matures, Caesar exposes other apes to the drug, triggering a cognitive evolution of the species. Meanwhile, the drug’s exposure to humans results in an deadly global pandemic that wipes out much of population, leading to a battle between man and apes that continues to play out in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes.

Though Caesar was the protagonist in the first three films, he isn’t returning in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes—for good reason. The new sequel, directed by Wes Ball (The Maze Runner trilogy), is set 300 years after the events of War for the Planet of the Apes. In the centuries since, apes have built entire civilizations and become the dominant species, while humans are now viewed as primitive creatures. Andy Serkis isn’t reprising his role as Caesar, but there is a Caesar in the film: Proximus Caesar, played by Kevin Durand. Proximus appears to be the latest in a line of ape rulers fashioned after the OG Caesar, but unlike his namesake, this Caesar has no faith in humanity, and instead warps OG Caesar’s teachings to oppress other communities.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes introduces a new protagonist, Noa (Owen Teague), a chimpanzee and hunter who befriends a human named Mae—though Noa and his allies call her Nova, the same as the young mute girl featured in War, whose name was a reference to the character from the classic Planet of the Apes films. If Andy Serkis’ Caesar shows up in Kingdom, it’ll likely be via flashback, or we’ll see him depicted in a photo or drawing.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters on May 10.

(featured image: 20th Century Studios)


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