Did Raka Die At The End In ‘Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes’? What Happened To The Order Of Caesar?

There’s no shortage of lovable ape characters in the “Planet of the Apes” franchise, who act to balance out the grim, philosophical nature of the narrative – and  exemplify the best potential of non-human humanity at the same time. The chimp scientists Zira and Cornelius in the original series, Caesar’s closest ally Maurice the Orangutan in the rebooted trilogy, and Raka in the recently released Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes fit perfectly in this trope. Despite having very brief screen time in the movie, Raka became a fan favorite character through his humorous antics, but especially because of what the character represents in the larger context of the overarching narrative. Even though Raka possibly didn’t survive (or did he?), by the end of the movie, as a character he has left a lingering effect on the future of the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise, which we would like to briefly discuss – along with some speculation regarding his fate.

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Spoilers Ahead


The Order of Caesar And Raka’s Role As Custodian 

Taking place several generations after the liberation of intelligent apes, and a total reversal of the ape-human power equation, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes introduced a fascinating concept in the form of ‘The Order of Caesar’, which is a faction founded by close associates of the late great ape leader who sought to educate future generations about the noble teachings of Caesar. The prime intention of the order was to help the upcoming generation to shape their communities and lifestyle in a sustainable way by internalizing the ideologies of Caesar which advocated for peace and fraternity. But most importantly, it was aimed at keeping the apes on a righteous, moral path – so they don’t make the same mistakes humanity made in the past, and engage in senseless self-destructive barbarism of warfare. From the belief of ape-human co-existence, to emphasis on the necessity of brotherhood, love and kindness prevailing among apes, the Order of Caesar took the life lessons of Caesar and set them as the ideals for ape kind to look up to – and the religious connotations in this aspect are unmissable. The founding members of the Order were able to read, and shared their wisdom accumulated from the knowledge preserved in the books. However, despite having enhanced intelligence, the majority of ape kind was content with a humble life in the wilderness, and as the ability to read gradually became redundant with changing times, the Order of Caesar faded away into the stream of time. Raka was the last surviving member of the Order, who despite lacking the ability to read, kept Caesar’s teachings alive by memorizing Caesar’s lessons which he had learned from former members of the order. Raka knew that the books stored invaluable knowledge, and kept them with himself like coveted treasure. As the last member of the Order, Raka essentially was the custodian of its knowledge, waiting for an apprentice whom he can pass his knowledge to. 

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For better or worse, the intelligent apes lacked the vaulting ambition of humanity, until the dreaded Proximus Caesar came into the picture. Which brings us to the next point, a comparison between the characterization of Raka and Proximus. 


Raka Is The Perfect Foil To Proximus’ Character

In his goal to establish his kingdom, Proximus killed and enslaved apes of other communities, and Raka was a victim of his oppressive course as he had lost someone close to him in the attack of Proximus’ ape soldiers. As Noa, whose family and clan was abducted by Proximus, comes across Raka, the duo quickly form a bond over their shared sense of grief. 

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More than the central protagonist of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, Noa, it is Raka who serves the role of a competent foil to the antagonist of the story, Proximus Caesar. Realizing that the tyrant monarch, Proximus, is maligning Caesar’s legacy in the pursuit of his selfish motives, Raka expresses his disgust to Noa, and teaches him the truth of the life lessons of Caesar. Raka himself has internalized the lessons so much that he has grown an inquisitive curiosity regarding humans. He knows Caesar was raised by humans, and that he wished for a world where apes and humans can coexist. In the present timeline, when humans have devolved into a primitive state and drastically lessened in numbers, Raka wants to know much about humans to learn the connection Caesar shared with them. While Proximus abhors humankind, and uses Caesar’s name to cause harm to ape brethren – Raka believes in the ideals of unity among apekind, shares his wisdom to Noa, shows kindness to humans and sacrifices his life to save a human. In fact, it was Raka’s wisdom which later strengthens Noa’s resolve to stand against the formidable Proximus and his army. Caesar’s teaching lives on through Noa, all thanks to Raka educating the young ape. However, unlike Raka, Noa has seen the ugly side of humanity, and knows that during their time as dominant species, humankind had subjugated the apes and other species, which makes it difficult for him to uncritically internalize Caesar’s wisdom. In the upcoming future, this conflicting state of Noa’s mind will make for a compelling discourse, but rest assured, Raka’s lessons will guide him in the time of need. 


Did Raka Survive At The End?

Although Raka seemingly perished while saving Mae from getting drowned, the director has hinted at his possible return in upcoming installments, and the decision will also gain traction due to the strong reception the character has found among viewers. Also, the Order of Caesar has opened a new way to assess the relevance of Caesar’s words in a changed time, which needs to be explored in the future sequels as well. 

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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