How Caesar’s Legacy Impacts Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

How Caesar’s Legacy Impacts Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Living creatures don’t live forever but ideas can. They may shift, change, or get misinterpreted along the way, but ideas remain long after the people who had them are gone. That’s a central theme in the new film Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, especially when it comes to the franchise’s most important character, Caesar.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is primarily set hundreds of years after the events of the previous Apes film, War for the Planet of the Apes. In that one, the first smart ape and leader Caesar dies after helping his tribe escape to a new home. Apes as they are wouldn’t exist without Caesar—but in Kingdom, most don’t even know who Caesar was. It was that idea of ideas and beliefs being carried across generations that was crucial to the film’s director.

“That was the interesting idea because of the time jump,” Kingdom director Wes Ball told io9. “In our own human history, we’ve had plenty of lost knowledge. We make these great discoveries, and then we lose it, and someone rediscovers it. I love the idea [that] there was a dark ages after Caesar died and many things were lost. And how it can split. There’s even a deleted scene somewhere that had to cut for time, unfortunately, but we talked about that a little bit, the split that happened.”

The split Ball is talking about is embodied in two characters in the film. There’s Raka, an orangutan who is trying to keep the original, intended word of Caesar alive. Then there’s Proxima Caesar, a vicious ruler who weaponizes Caesar’s ideas for his own gain. Both preach the word and legacy of Caesar, but one does so in the way he intended and the other does not. Then, in between both of them, is the main character, Noa.

“Noa, this fresh, blank page that sets off on this adventure of self-discovery and discovery for the world around him, he gets to be influenced by these two ideas,” Ball said. “It’s going to shape him into the future going forward. Who he’s going to become is because of the father figures that come and go from his life in this movie, including his interactions with humans themselves. So it just felt like the right idea to play around with ideas and the concept of truth and how fragile it is.”

Which side will Noa come down on? And how will that impact what happens moving ahead? You’ll find out this week when Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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