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Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes Sets Up A New Trilogy Nearly 300 Years After Caesar’s End – Exclusive Image

When Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes set out to unfold the, well, rise of the planet of the apes back in 2011, it did so through the eyes of Caesar – an empathetic primate brought to vivid life by Andy Serkis’ astonishing performance. Through the course of that trilogy, audiences witnessed Caesar’s entire life span, his own evolution coinciding with the simian revolution spreading across the globe. So, with the arrival of Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Caesar’s son, Cornelius, would be at the centre of the action for the next saga. Instead, it’s time to think bigger – while taking its cues from the previous trilogy, this is the start of something else, unfolding a whole new era of the planet of the apes.

Rather than follow on in the immediate aftermath of Caesar’s death at the end of War For The Planet Of The Apes, Kingdom is taking a major leap forward. The film, directed by Wes Ball, is set roughly 300 years after Caesar delivered his people to their promised land – and with all those years gone by, his legendary leadership qualities are largely lost to time. Still, it’s Caesar’s legacy – and the meaning of “apes together strong” – that’s set to drive Noa, Kingdom’s new young ape hero. “Noa has no idea who that is,” Owen Teague, the man behind the mo-cap (perhaps best known as bully Patrick from the IT movies), says of Caesar. “Part of his journey is a discovery of that legacy and its various interpretations. Noa has to make sense of what it all means.”

The character in Kingdom who does remember Caesar’s teachings isn’t necessarily using it for the good of ape-kind. Enter Proximus Caesar – as seen on the cover of the issue – a crown-wearing chimp with his own agenda at play. “Caesar is almost a religious figure, and Proximus has taken on the name Caesar because it was the highest position held in ape society,” says his human counterpart, Kevin Durand. “It was a self-proclamation that was achieved by any means necessary, to ensure that apes continue to evolve. So you’re seeing the influence and the evolution of what Caesar left. And, like in every morsel of human history, there’s always some type of tyrant who comes along and scares everyone into believing them.”

Make no mistake: the ambition here is not to make a fourth film in the Rise saga – Kingdom is its own new beast. And there’s a bigger story to unfold. “From the beginning we thought about this as a trilogy,” says Ball. “We had these grand ideas of where it could ultimately go and how it could fit into the legacy of these movies. So I’m certainly talking to [the studio] right now about the next story.” While Ball might not take those on himself (“I have other movies I want to make,” he says, having recently been named as the director of the upcoming The Legend Of Zelda movie), he sees a bright future for this era of apes. “Those last three movies were about the end of something. They were about the end of this Moses story. They were about the end of humanity,” he explains. “And we thought, ‘From the ashes of those previous movies, we’re gonna grow a new tree to climb.’ This movie is very much about the beginning of something.” Strap in: it’s going to be bananas.

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