The closing moments of ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ are kind of brilliant and entirely terrifying

The closing moments of ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ are kind of brilliant and entirely terrifying

This article contains spoilers for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

When Wes Ball was preparing to carry forward a franchise as critically and commercially successful as the rebooted Planet of the Apes canon, he must have known that it would be no easy task to follow in the footsteps of the Caesar trilogy. How appropriate, then, that Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes has chosen to not march in anyone’s footsteps but its own.

Indeed, with Owen Teague leading the charge as protagonist Noa, Ball and company have something special on their hands, and seeing where this new Apes trilogy will go from here should be one of the most exciting developments that the pop culture zeitgeist will bear witness to over these next couple of years.

And Kingdom was all too happy to tee us up for a glance at what lies ahead, as its closing moments suggest a particularly daunting rematch that the world hasn’t seen for a few centuries (Kingdom takes place 300 years after War for the Planet of the Apes).

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes ending explained

via 20th Century Studios

After Noa and his clan return home to rebuild, he spots Mae in the distance, and begrudgingly approaches her. She tells him she came to bid farewell following their journey together, but the gun that Mae hides behind her back suggests that she’s as aware of the newfound tension between them as Noa is. She leaves him on the same tense terms they began the interaction with, making no secret of her belief that humans deserve their chance to be the dominant species again. Noa, meanwhile, stands firmly against the dominating nature that humans and Proximus have exhibited, perhaps worried that humans returning to the top would invite that very nature.

Mae then returns to the satellite base she originally came from (this is the first time we audience members see it), and hands over the deciphering key she took from the military bunker to one of the other humans inside. Using this, the humans manage to make contact with other humans that are scattered across the world. Mae gazes at the sky as the satellites find the humans, while Noa also gazes at the sky from inside the observatory he encountered earlier in his adventure.

Suffice to say Noa and Mae will be meeting again in the future, likely on significantly less-friendly terms, and possibly winding up on opposite sides of a new war; one that may mirror the ideological clash between Caesar and Koba that came to a front during Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

This ending is also an appropriate note in the context of what Kingdom sought to explore thematically; when Noa first encountered the planetarium, he saw the night sky (perhaps the moon) with a newfound wonder for the world he lived alongside. Now, he looks upon that same sky with the same respect, but it’s less an awestruck admiration and more a kinship, now that he recognizes a certain vulnerability in the world that he once did not. Mae, meanwhile, is staring at the very same sky that Noa is, but her stare is one of perverted hope for a world that will bow its head to humanity once again.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is now playing in theaters.

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