“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” star teases Caesar's legacy and the new generation

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” star teases Caesar's legacy and the new generation

The actor, who plays a chimpanzee named Noa, answers our questions about the film's new trailer.

From apes hunting humans to simians battling simians, there is a lot going on in the new trailer (below) for director Wes Ball's Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (in theaters May 24). Fortunately, the film's star Owen Teague volunteered to help sift through all the monkey business (sorry, ape business) and offer some context for the action.

The actor takes the lead role of a chimpanzee named Noa in a world set around 300 years after the events of the previous movie in the franchise, 2017's War for the Planet of the Apes. "Humans have gone backwards, even from when we last saw them at the end of War," Teague says. "Now they’re kind of where great apes are now for us, which is, they don’t speak, they’re animals."

The apes have split off into factions and clans, and are in the early stages of their civilization's development. "You get to watch them grow as a species," he adds.

<p>20th Century Studios; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images</p> Noa in 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes'/Owen Teague

20th Century Studios; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Noa in 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes'/Owen Teague

Noa is a member of Eagle Clan, which Teague describes as "essentially isolationist."

"They have their borders, and they really keep to themselves," he explains. "We meet Noa when he's just entering adulthood, and he and his friends are about to have their coming-of-age ceremony, it’s their ape bar mitzvah, really. Then Noa gets thrust into this crazy, unexplored world that he’s been sheltered from his entire life. He has to go on this journey to get his people out of some trouble, but in the process learns a lot about what’s really out there. The kind of driving thing for him was curiosity and this wonder that he feels for all this stuff he's learning."

Early reports about the movie stated that Noa is related to Caesar, the character played by Andy Serkis in the previous three films, but Teague reveals this is not the case.

"I think I’m allowed to talk about this. No! No!" says the actor, whose previous credits include the most recent It movies and To Leslie. "Caesar’s legacy plays a part in this film because that's the world and Caesar’s kind of the father figure of the apes, of this universe, but this is a new generation."

Noa's journey of discovery involves The Witcher actress Freya Allan's feral human character who is described in the trailer as "smarter than most."

"Yeah, she knows some things that one would not expect from a wild animal, which I won’t give away," Teague remarks. "It’s funny because, in researching Noa and all the ape stuff, I spent a lot of time with chimpanzees. I had moments in real life, [similar to the way] Noa regards Freya’s character, with the chimpanzees."

In addition to Teague's Noa, the trailer strongly features another ape, Kevin Durand's Proximus Caesar, who declares, “Apes will learn, I will learn, and I will conquer.” Director Ball recently told EWthat Proximus has rediscovered electricity," saying, "To apes that forgot about all these things, that’s like a magic power."

Teague further explains that this hairy Thomas Edison has taken Caesar’s name, twisted his philosophies, and used it to his own advantage to rally different clans to work for him under one kingdom. "You get to see how legends and religion, to some degree, play a part in the creation of powerful figures," Teague says. "It’s a really smart story to be telling right now, especially, I think."

When Ball spoke to EW, the director teased the possibility of more movies in the series. Teague admits that the director has spoken to him about future storylines but is reluctant to say more. "A, I don’t want to jinx anything and, B, Wes is a genius and I would do a disservice to his ideas by trying to pitch them," he says. "Watching Wes pitch an idea is maybe the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced. He’s such a good storyteller."

For now, Teague is excited that fans are getting a taste of what to expect from Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

"The trailer’s sort of hinting at things that it isn’t explaining, as it should," he says. "I’m glad that it’s not giving anything away, but I’m also excited for people to see what all that means and get to meet Noa and see his journey."

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will be released in theaters this May 24.

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