Let’s Talk About the Ending of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Let’s Talk About the Ending of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

“It’s like the beginning of the next one almost more than the end of this one.” That’s director Wes Ball talking to io9 about the choices made at the end of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, which is in theaters now. And while its story of Noa, Mae, Proximus Caesar, and the Eagle Clan reaches a conclusion, the film also offers tantalizing teases of what could be next, and it’s time to break it down.

At a certain point in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, we learn that Mae (Freya Allan) is part of a human group that has somehow survived the mutated Simian Flu that devolved humans into feral beings. From there, we infer that a group of them were sent out on a mission—and were subsequently all murdered, aside from Mae. Alone, but still determined, she then seeks out Noa’s help. Mae tells him the mission is to enter the mysterious bunker Proximus and his apes are attempting to get into, to find a book that will allow humans to use their voices again. “A book can do this?” asks Noa, which is our question too.

The “book” in question is later revealed as not an actual book. It’s some kind of computer drive. My first thought was “What is she going to do with that in a world where humans barely exist?” Well, after Mae floods the bunker, almost killing not just Proximius, but her allies in Noa and Eagle Clan, we see her go home. Home, presumably somewhere in New Mexico, is a large bunker under an array of radio telescopes. A woman (Dichen Lachman from Severence) lets Mae enter and we see that this bunker is still filled with, for lack of a better term, “normal” humans. One of them uses the computer drive, which is in fact a decryption key that unlocks the array of radio telescopes, allowing them to reach out to humans in other parts of the world. One even responds. They’re in Chicago.

Image: Fox

So let’s start there. The ability to talk Mae was referring to wasn’t literal. It was a figurative exploration for allowing humans to communicate via radio once again. An act that, presumably, will allow many, many more humans to coordinate and try and take their planet back. And yet, this raises even more questions.

Questions like, are these humans still normal because they are immune to the new mutation of the virus? Or are they only like this because they’ve been in a bunker for hundreds of years? And if that’s the case, how have they been able to survive all this time? Also, do they want to attack the apes or befriend them?

The only clue we get is when Mae returns to Eagle Clan to say goodbye to Noa. We see in a very brief but telling shot that she brought a gun with her, just in case Noa was not forgiving of the fact she basically betrayed him and his clan so she could escape. Noa then tells her he no longer trusts humans—and rightfully so. Finally, we see him and Soona using a massive telescope to look at the stars, an acknowledgment that his world is about to expand greatly.

So what does this all mean? Well, don’t forget the original Planet of the Apes took place over 2,000 years from when the ship left Earth. The last three movies only covered about 20 years from that moment, and now we’re roughly 300 after that. There’s still a minimum of 1,500 years to go before Charlton Heston shows up. It seems rather plausible that the humans who are somehow still alive will team up on a global scale to do something. Go to war, broker peace, move away, we don’t know. Whatever it is, we know they won’t succeed but there are still a lot of potential stories to be told.

RIP Raka.

Plus, what does Noa carry with him from the teachings of Raka? The implication is that it’s Noa alone who is responsible for the teachings of the original Caesar, but how much can or will he know in the process? And what has happened to Caesar’s line? We did leave him with a son, Cornelius, all those centuries ago.

Basically, though Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes ties up this story, it leaves things open for much, much more to go.

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