Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes: recapping the events of the previous trilogy

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the latest thrilling chapter in the Planet of the Apes saga. The movie acts as a pivotal bridging point between the recent Apes trilogy and the classic 1968 original, which unforgettably inverted the food chain to pit calculating, intelligent simians against long-suffering, feral humans.

If you need a recap of the recent trilogy, you've come to the right place. Before you watch Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes at Cineworld (scroll to the end of this post to book your tickets), bring yourself up to speed on the events of the previous three Apes movies.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

  • San Francisco chemist Will Rodman (James Franco) is seeking a cure for Alzheimer's disease
  • To that end, he tests the viral-based drug ALZ-112 on chimpanzees at the biotechnology company Gen-Sys
  • After testing ALZ-112 on a chimp named Bright Eyes, the animal's intelligence is greatly increased
  • However, Bright Eyes soon goes berserk and is shot dead
  • It's then revealed that Bright Eyes secretly gave birth to a boy, whom Will subsequently adopts and names Caesar
  • Will realises that Caesar has inherited his mother's intelligence through his exposure to ALZ-112
  • As Caesar grows up (to be played as an adult by Andy Serkis), he desires to see more of the outside world
  • After an altercation with Will's neighbour, Caesar is incarcerated in a local ape shelter
  • There he meets an assortment of apes, including orangutan Maurice, who soon become his staunch allies
  • A gaseous, more powerful version of ALZ-112 named ALZ-113 is soon developed after Will reveals its ability to increase cognitive intelligence
  • Accidental human exposure soon initiates a fatal chain reaction
  • Caesar, meanwhile, lifts the stockpile of ALZ-113 and exposes his fellow apes to the compound, which boosts their intelligence and self-awareness
  • Caesar, having gained the ability to speak, frees the apes from the enclosure and they go on the rampage through San Francisco
  • Gorilla Buck sacrifices himself in the subsequent battle with the police and scarred, traumatised bonobo Koba, another subject of human experimentation, emerges as Caesar's de facto deputy
  • Caesar returns to the redwood forest that he had once visited with Will and, after saying his goodbyes, adopts it as his new home along with his fellow apes
  • Meanwhile, the ALZ-113 virus radiates out from San Francisco to spread around the world



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

  • 10 years after the Simian Flu devastated mankind, Caesar's apes have flourished amid the ruins of San Francisco
  • United by Caesar's leadership, the genetically engineered apes have developed rudimentary sign language, can ride horses and hunt in co-ordinated groups
  • Caesar's lieutenants are the scheming, malicious Koba (Toby Kebbell) who despises humans, chimpanzee Rocket (Terry Notary) and the wise, benevolent orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval)
  • One ape faction suddenly stumbles on a group of human survivors led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) who are seeking to restore power to a hydroelectric dam
  • Caesar orders the humans to leave the apes' territory and in a further show of strength, later leads his assembled human factions to the humans' door
  • Caesar says that he does not seek war with the humans but that each species should remain in its respective territory
  • Malcolm boldly returns to the ape habitat to reconcile with the apes and restore power to the dam
  • Malcolm's wife Ellie (Keri Russell) gains the apes' trust after delivering the baby of Caesar's partner Cornelia (Judy Greer)
  • The vengeful Koba, however, accuses Caesar of caring more about humans than the apes
  • Koba spies an opportunity to turn humans and apes against one another, stealing several guns, killing two human guards and later setting fire to the ape colony
  • He then shoots Caesar and leaves him for dead, accusing the humans and taking charge of the various ape factions in a retaliatory move
  • While Koba imprisons all the apes who remain loyal to Caesar, Malcolm and his family discover that Caesar is still alive,
  • Reconciling with Caesar's son Blue Eyes, Malcolm takes Caesar back to his old home in San Francisco and eventually nurses him back to health
  • Caesar later confronts Koba, which results in the ape falling to his death as human leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) blows himself up in a vain attempt to destroy the apes
  • Believing that the humans will never forgive the apes for their attack, Caesar persuades Malcolm to evacuate with his family for safety before the fighting begins
  • Caesar then addresses his troops as he prepares for the oncoming war



War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

  • Two years after the battle in San Francisco, Caesar and his apes, now capable of lucid speech, are actively hunted by operatives in the employ of The Colonel (Woody Harrelson)
  • Blue Eyes and Rocket return to the ape colony to report they have found an oasis, a safer home for the apes
  • However, the Colonel launches a stealth attack on the apes, killing Blue Eyes, after he is mistaken for Caesar himself, and Cornelia
  • It is decided that half of the colony will journey to the Oasis while Caesar, Rocket, Maurice, and Caesar's other remaining lieutenant Luca serve as decoys to distract the Colonel's men
  • Caesar kills a militiaman in self-defense and finds his mute daughter, whom Maurice befriends by giving her a rag doll; the girl is later named Nova
  • Along the way, Caesar and his group discover another mute person, a militiaman, his symptoms being evidence of the longstanding impact of the Simian Flu
  • Caesar runs into Bad Ape (Steve Zahn), another intelligent ape capable of full speech
  • Caesar is later captured and upon Colonel's compound in the snowbound north, Caesar is informed that the Simian Flu has mutated, causing infected humans to regress into a primitive state
  • Caesar discovers that his tribe has also been captured and been forced to build a wall to shield the Colonel's men from outside forces
  • Upon discovering that his own son was infected with the Simian Flu, the Colonel had him executed along with everyone else who had come into contact with the virus
  • When the Colonel's stronghold is attacked by military forces, Caesar goes to confront the Colonel but finds he has already become mute after handling the infected Nova's doll
  • Caesar then allows his nemesis to kill himself and, attempting to leave with his apes, is fatally injured in the military crossfire
  • Caesar blows the fuel tank and escapes the facility, causing an avalanche that buries the facility and military
  • Caesar, Nova, and the apes are able to avoid the avalanche by scaling on trees
  • The surviving apes, led by Caesar, finally reach their oasis where Caesar, safe in the knowledge that his clan will survive, dies peacefully alongside Maurice
  • Prior to Caesar's death, Maurice promises that Cornelius will know who Caesar is and what he did for the apes



What happens in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes?

  • Some 300 years after Caesar's death, his ape ancestors have emerged from the Oasis as intelligent, sentient beings while humans have continued to slip further into a primitive state
  • Caesar's descendant Noa (Owen Teague) then runs across a feral young woman named Nova (Freya Allen)
  • At the same time, warmongering false prophet Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand) is corrupting Caesar's teachings and subjugating the various ape factions to his will
  • Noa and Nova then embark on a harrowing journey beyond everything they know to try and determine what the future holds for both apes and humans 


Click the link below to book your tickets for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. It opens at Cineworld on May 9th.