With the army out of the way– well, technically crushed to death or buried under the snow, we presume, Caesar is finally able to lead his people to the home that his son, Blue Eyes, had scouted while away from the ape colony. The journey, as described by Blue Eyes, takes the colony a vast distance across a desert landscape. It’s hard to pin down exactly where the apes are headed without any landmarks or proper names known to the apes, but once Caesar crosses the final mountain range, the home he has been searching for where his apes can live in peace and safety stretches out before him.

It’s here where Caesar’s story sadly ends, having staved off his death until he could personally see his people saved. Once the mission is accomplished, the wound suffered in his escape from The Colonel’s base is free to claim him. Kind final words are exchanged between Caesar and Maurice (Karin Konoval), and Caesar is allowed to rest knowing that his son will learn what his father believed, and just how much he sacrificed in his efforts to deliver them to this place. The location, it is assumed, will be the permanent cradle of their new civilization made famous in the original Planet of the Apes movies.

Caesar’s role in the Apes series ends with his death, but the larger world and narrative is suggested to be far greater than his colony. The arrival of Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) helps save Caesar’s colony, but his very existence reveals there are other intelligent apes finding ways to survive. Director Matt Reeves has said that it’s likely future Planet of the Apes sequels will feature other colonies, other groups of apes who have formed without the strong, moral, honorable leadership of Caesar to follow. Here’s hoping Cornelius is truly his father’s son.

How The Film Connects (in Spirit) To The Original Movie

Planet of the Apes 1968 War for the Planet of the Apes Ending Explained

The character names and larger story pieces in place may lead the casual, or even passionate Planet of the Apes fans to see the final twists of War as a direct set-up of the original Charlton Heston film. But the devoted purists of the original series will have a difficult time rectifying the difference between the two sagas. Since the original takes place centuries into Earth’s future, a direct link is impossible. That being said, director Matt Reeves gives some serious fan service by attaching the conclusion of his trilogy to the Planet of the Apes in a spiritual, if not literal sense.

For starters, the young girl who is unable to speak is eventually given the name “Nova” by Maurice (after the Chevy Nova emblem she is given by Bad Ape, and carries with her). That’s a connection to ‘Nova’ from the 1968 movie, the similarly mute character played by actress Linda Harrison. Where the apes are concerned, the original mythology claimed a Caesar as its own great revolutionary, and the figure that led apes to freedom from their human oppressors.

In the original films that role was played by actor Roddy McDowall, with Conquest of the Planet of the Apes revealing how the revolution had begun. Eventually, Caesar fathered a son, whom he named Cornelius after his own father. In the modern films Caesar plays the same role, with his final mission seeing Cornelius survive as his only son (although named for his wife, Cornelia this time around).

Even if it isn’t an end point that matches up with the start of the original, Reeves’s prequels have sketched out the roadmap for future movies to follow. There are still stories to tell… even if it ends with a Planet of the Apes.

NEXT: How War for the Planet of the Apes Sets Up Sequels

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