‘Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Ending Explained: What Is The Future Of Ape-Human Relations?

The entirety of human civilization is built as much upon perseverance and innovation as it is upon exploitation and egocentric control over nature, and as the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy has shown, the consequential hubris led to the ultimate downfall of humanity. The same viral outbreak that marked the end of human civilization—sending the surviving humans back to a primitive state—enhanced the intellectual capabilities of the apes and resulted in the dawn of a new simian civilization, one that continued the harmonious relationship with nature. However, in the recent entry of the rebooted series Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, this new world order seems to have been shaken with the introduction of rogue ape clans, and human survivors who were unaffected by the virus and are trying to regain the world they have lost—and also due to the lost legacy of their first leader, Caesar. There is much scope for expanding the established lore, which we would like to discuss as we explain Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes‘ ending in detail.


Spoilers Ahead

What Is The Future Of The Ape-Human Relationship?

After defeating Proximus Caesar, Noa liberates the Eagle Clan and brings them back to their settlement as the apes rebuild their wrecked home to start their lives anew. Possibly from a mixed sense of guilt and gratitude, Mae makes one last visit to Noa to convey her regards. However, their relationship is based solely on mutual cooperation, and there is not much trust between them, which is clearly understandable as Mae tries to hide a gun behind her back while meeting Noa, preparing for the worst-case scenario. On the other hand, from his experiences during the journey, Proximus’ advice, and the picture book found in Silo, Noa has realized that he cannot afford to wholeheartedly trust human beings as an idealist like Raka used to. Despite saving Mae’s life multiple times, she didn’t think twice before flooding the dam with Noa and his clan inside the silo, as she was only guided by a self-serving motivation, remaining absolutely apathetic to the plight of apes while doing so. During their final meeting, Noa regretfully remarks on that, mentioning Proximus being right about not trusting humans, who seek to take control over everything their eye gazes upon. Mae counters, stating she believes humans are deserving of regaining their rightful place as the dominant species, but whether that comes at the cost of apes reverting back to the miserable state humans had put them to— is questioned by Noa. 


A concerned Noa questions the validation of Caesar’s belief in ape-human coexistence in this changed time, which sums up the dynamics between the two species in the context of the movie and upcoming sequels as well. Unlike Caesar, who had experienced the kindness of humans through his companionship with the Rodmans and later with Malcolm’s family, Noa has only witnessed the horror humans can wreak upon others if their former status as dominant species is returned to them. On the other hand, Mae has seen both the generous side of the apes through Raka and Noa and the viciousness they are capable of through the actions of Proximus. As both species continue to learn more about each other, the existing relationship dynamic will change. In the final moments of the movie, Caesar looks at the night sky, staying vigilant and willing to learn more about humans, while Mae looks at the sky with a bit of a hopeful gaze, with the possibility of a better future for humanity. Which brings us to the next aspect, the possibility of re-establishing human civilization. 

Mae Found A Way To Re-Establish Human Civilization

During Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes‘ present timeline, the majority of the existing human populace has regressed to a primal state, losing their intelligence and ability to speak, except for a few unaffected ones like Mae and Trevathan. However, by the end of the movie, it is revealed that a portion of the surviving humans had moved into underground military bunkers, probably right after the Simian Flu outbreak started wiping the human population off the planet, and had spent generations inside while vestiges of human civilization turned into relics in the outside world. Mae was one such survivors and was assigned to bring the Satcom key from the silo in the coastal area, which she managed to obtain at the end. Using the Satcom key, the bunker dwellers were able to access the satellite dishes, which allowed them to communicate with other survivors across the world through radio communication. While this might be an encouraging advancement for humankind, it can also mean a conflict with the present dominant species, the intelligent apes, is bound to happen in the struggle for supremacy. After all, it is a basic human tendency to consume and exploit everything, and after establishing communication, they can obtain the means to assert their dominance over others. 


Are Raka and the Order of Caesar really gone?

Raka was one of the exciting new additions to Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, and carrying the true teachings of Caesar with him, he acted as Noa’s moral compass during the first half of the movie. The partnership between Raka and Noa was a lot like Maurice and Caesar, which is why series fans were able to relate to the characters quite easily. As the last surviving member of the Order of Caesar, the wise Raka wanted to share the principles of Caesar among other apes, teaching them the possibilities of ape-human coexistence. However, during the attack of Proximus’ apes on the river bridge, Raka sacrificed his life to save Mae from drowning, and with him, the Order of Caesar ended. 

Although Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes made it seem that we had seen the last of Raka, the ambiguity regarding his death also hints at his possible return in the sequel. Also, by introducing the interesting concept of a peacekeeping commune founded by Caesar’s close associates, the makers will surely keep the Order of Caesar alive with other survivors. This will allow a nifty subverted interplay in ape-human relations as well, with apes opting for a better path and coexistence while humanity seeks to retake the world all over again. Caesar’s act of giving Raka’s amulet to Mae is significant in this context, as he still chooses to trust her and wishes her to remember Raka’s idealistic perspective. 


With Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes acting as the first part of a slated sequel trilogy, the correlation between apes and humans will continue to develop in unprecedented ways, which we, as viewers, cannot wait to see unfold. 

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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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