Freya Allan‘s human character, Mae, is a central focus of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, and the new trailer aired during the Super Bowl revealed why she’s so special. In the movie, Mae teams up with Owen Teague’s young chimpanzee, Noa, another pivotal character in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes‘ cast. It’s an unlikely partnership that forms when Noa chafes against the cruelty of the ape leader, Proximus Caesar, who rules through ruthlessness and the subjugation of humans and weaker ape tribes.
In the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie and timeline, humans are considered lesser life forms to either be hunted or enslaved by apes. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is returning to that dynamic; humans, having regressed to being a primitive species, are treated as vermin by the superior and advanced race of apes. The new movie is set almost 300 years after 2017’s War of the Planet of the Apes, and the ending of that movie may explain why Mae will be an integral part of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ story. While other humans are hunted and trapped, it’s Mae who is the true target of Proximus Caesar.
At the end of War for the Planet of the Apes, it’s revealed that the Simian Flu has mutated and, rather than killing most humans, it renders them mute and severely degrades their intellect. It’s also far more contagious and readily infectious by the end of that movie, to the point that even items held by contagious people can spread the virus. The result is the backdrop of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes: most of humankind was wiped out by the original Simian Flu, and the ones who have survived are primitive, no longer the dominant species of the planet.
It’s with this context in mind that the second trailer for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes explains why Mae is so special. “Why do they hunt her?” Noa asks the orangutan, Raka, who answers, “She is smarter than most.” To Proximus Caesar, this makes Mae a threat. He’s aware that humans used to be the superior species, and that humankind was capable of incredible feats of intellect and ingenuity. Mae, with her cunning and heightened intelligence, could start teaching other humans and giving them ideas that could upset the balance of power the apes have enjoyed for the past three centuries.
One thing the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes trailer doesn’t explain is why Mae is smarter than most other humans. However, following the logical evolution of a virus may provide the answer. Viruses mutate, and it’s entirely possible, even likely, that as the centuries have passed, the Simian Flu virus mutated to not be as harmful. What’s more likely is that Freya Allan’s Mae, for whatever reason, has some level of immunity to the virus and the genetic mutations it handed previous generations of humans.
Enlightenment and truth are always the most dangerous threats to any dictator, and it’s exactly why Mae plays such a pivotal role. If that’s the case, it could make her an even greater threat to Proximus Caesar in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Humans slowly regaining their intelligence would be a disaster for him as he desires to conquer and control all. If that’s what’s happening in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, then Mae could be the spark that not only shows humans there’s another way but also shows apekind that Proximus has been lying to them about the primitive and stunted nature of humans. Enlightenment and truth are always the most dangerous threats to any dictator, and it’s exactly why Mae plays such a pivotal role in the upcoming movie and possibly beyond.