Andy Serkis stars for a third time as ape leader Caesar in the sci-fi film ‘War for the Planet of the Apes.’
20th Century Fox

SPOILER ALERT: The following includes major details about the dramatic end of War for the Planet of the Apes. Stop reading now if you haven’t seen it.

After battles against oppressive soldiers, ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) brought his clan to a promised, safe land in War for the Planet of the Apes. 

“He’s like the ape Moses,” says director Matt Reeves. “We wanted the movie to be, on a certain level, a biblical epic.”

War marks the end for Serkis’ Caesar in the trilogy, which started with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Each film has brought the human- and ape-filled world closer to 1968’s Planet of the Apes, a future (set in the year 3978) where apes rule over mute human slaves.

“We have the 1968 movie. It exists,” says Reeves. “Instead of ‘What happens?’ our story becomes ‘How does it happen?’ You watch as these characters take us from here to there.”

Here are three key characters who make that bridge to the original:

Nova points a light

The mute child Nova (Amiah Miller) highlights a spreading disease in War that robs humans of their ability to speak. Fans of the 1968 film know it features a mute slave woman named Nova, played by Linda Harrison.

War‘s Nova suggests the beginning of humans losing speech, eventually evolving into an entirely voiceless population.

“We’re not proposing that this is the same Nova,” says Reeves. “But the humans that are left in (the current) movies so far are speaking, they are not far removed from us. So we posit the idea of what takes us toward the (non-speaking) humans of the 1968 movie.”