Planet of the Apes

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"Somewhere in the universe, there must be something better than man..."
George Taylor‍'‍s reason for leaving Earth, as related to fellow astronaut Landon.

A media franchise based on the French novel La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle consisting of seven movies in three continuities, a live-action series, and an animated series.

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The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Planet of the Apes franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.

Planet of the Apes (novel)

  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted. They speak their own language. Ulysse has to learn it.
  • Apocalypse How
  • Artistic Licence Biology: After living a few months among savage humans, the old scientific genius Professor Antelle loses his memory, his speech, and even his conscience, becoming totally animal-like like the others… that's a bit radical.
    • Put electrodes on a woman's head, stimulate specific areas of her brain, and she will awaken memories of what her ancestors said ten thousand years ago. No, really!
  • Cute Mute: Nova.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The "stock exchange" scene. It certainly looks nothing like reality.
  • Human Aliens
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Subverted. Soror's humans before being overwhelmed by the apes, aren't so much depicted as bastards (although they do nasty experiments on them, but so do the apes afterwards) than a decadent species no more fit to survive natural selection, with a "mental idleness" and a total incapacity to organize and resist against the rise of the apes. Ulysse lampshades that a race that submitted and resigned itself so pitifully easily might as well be replaced by a "more noble race".
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Nova never wears clothes, nor do any of Soror's humans.
  • Interspecies Romance: Depends if you consider Soror's humans as a different species.
  • Killer Space Monkey
  • Meaningful Name: Justified. The humans called her Nova because they thought she was beautiful.
  • Message in a Bottle: The Framing Device is two scientists finding the story in a bottle floating in space.
  • Nubile Savage: Nova.
  • Turned Against Their Masters
  • Twist Ending: Completely different from the movies. The scientists who are reading the human's diary turn out to be apes. After finishing their read, they scoff at the notion that a human would ever be that intelligent.
  • Wham! Line: Ulysse's last line. "It is a gorilla".

Original film series

Planet of the Apes (1968 film)

A team of astronauts flies into space at near light speed. They are influenced by time dilation: eighteen months for them is over two thousand years for the Earth. They crash onto a mysterious, seemingly desolate planet (losing the sole female on the crew in the process), specifically into a dead lake; this loses them their spacecraft and most of their supplies.

On this planet, there is a mute race of human-like creatures, treated as animals by a race of sentient English-speaking apes. Caught in the middle of an ambush between Ape and Man, one of the astronauts is killed, another lobotomized and a third, George Taylor, is shot in the throat, which renders him mute like the other men. He is among the captured men, and taken back to the apes' mostly pre-industrial city. As the talking ape civilization learn that Taylor, "Bright Eyes" to them, can (eventually) speak and write, they put him on trial for heresy against the ape civilization's sacred scrolls.

Notable for the famous Earth All Along ending: Taylor escapes from the apes, finding a new life with his love Nova, and eventually discovers the ruins of the Statue of Liberty. He realized that Man destroyed himself, sent society back to the Stone Age, and allowed the apes to conquer.

This movie contains examples of

  • After the End: as revealed at the end of the movie.
  • Agent Mulder: Zira.
  • Agent Scully: Cornelius.
  • Anti-Hero: Taylor is a misanthropic, rather vicious Jerkass. However, he is not without sympathetic traits, such as his affection for Nova and his disgust with Landon's lobotomy. He also seems disappointed that the apes are no better than humans.
  • Anti-Villain: Doctor Zaius can be ruthless when pressed though he has fundamentally good intentions as he seeks to prevent humanity from causing another appocalpyse and is at least reasonable enough to try and talk Taylor into making a false confession in exchange for his safety.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: the Trope Namer.
  • Apes Speaking English: It should have been Taylor's first clue...
  • Apocalypse How: "You maniacs! You blew it all up!"
  • Arc Words: "Somewhere in the universe, there must be something better than man..."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Tell me, Dr. Zaius, why would an ape make a human doll that can talk?"
  • Big Applesauce: The end of the film, which lets Taylor know where he really is.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Technically (in more ways than one) averted, but Dodge didn't live up to his name.
  • Characteristic Trope: The Planet of the Apes Ending.
  • The Constant: the Statue of Liberty.
  • Cryonics Failure: Stewart's death while in Human Popsicle state.
  • Cute Mute: Nova.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Taylor, even when mute. Also Cornelius.
  • Dead Guy on Display: This is what happened to Dodge.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The ending.
  • Downer Ending: In a nutshell.
  • Earth All Along: The former Trope Namer.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The whole series, really.
  • Evolutionary Levels: the apes' evolution to intelligence in a couple of thousand years. RetConned in the sequels.
  • Fantastic Racism: The way apes hate humans. For good reason...
    • Ape society seems clearly divided between chimp, gorilla, and orangutan.
      • There's a story that during film production the cast would segregate themselves by the ape costumes they wore.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Taylor finds Landon lobotomized by the apes.
    • Taylor himself becomes more desperate to escape after learning that he himself is scheduled to be not only lobotomized, but also stands to lose his two best friends (and I don't mean Dodge and Landon).
  • Forbidden Zone: a really notable example.
  • Franchise Zombie: The sequels and TV shows. Both the second and third movie were intended to be the last in the series (5 were made).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There were concerns that censors would object to Taylor's cry of "God damn you all to hell!" The problem was avoided when the producers and Heston explained that the phrase was not an expletive. Rather, Taylor was, literally, calling on God to damn the human race for destroying civilization.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen
  • Hollywood Science: Averted. This movie shows a great deal of respect and knowledge of science, far more than would be expected from Hollywood.
    • Nevertheless, the series still portrays gorillas as violent brutes and chimpanzees as pacifists (chimpanzees are probably the most violent of the non-human ape species, and gorillas are generally reclusive and peaceful unless forced to defend themselves), either because they Did Not Do the Research or because Primatology Marched On.
  • Human Popsicle: The four astronauts.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Taylor feels this way at the beginning, but after meeting the apes, he changes his mind. Then comes the ending.
  • Humans Are Morons: Unlike other examples of this in Speculative Fiction, this is one example where humanity is less civilized than the apes, as opposed to usually being the slightly more civilized ones. This is because humanity managed to blow itself to damn near the brink of extinction, losing its civilized qualities in the process.
  • Idiot Ball: Most characters hold it at one point or another. Especially Taylor trying to prove to the apes that he is an intelligent being takes ridiculously long due to one blunder after another. Had he just motioned for Dr. Zira's notepad right away and shown immediately that he could write, things would've been that much simpler.
    • He tried to do just that, they just didn't understand him.
      • Not very well, though. He could have done something like pretend to write on his hand so they knew what he meant.
        • Cornelius says 'human see! human do!' when Zira says he's trying to speak. They would have just assumed he was mindlessly copying the apes writing.
  • In Name Only: adaptation of the novel.
    • The only characters from the novel are Zaius, Zira, Cornelius, and Nova.
    • Pierre Boule was apparently impressed enough with the adaptation that he submitted his own proposal for a sequel titled Planet of the Men, which would've ended with the humans taking over the planet and ultimately turning Dr. Zaius into a zoo exhibit.
  • Irony: In the first movie, Taylor wonders if there's a sentient race out there that's "better than man." It turns out most of the Apes are hardly any better than the humans they claim to be superior to.
    • Taylor starts off as a cynical misanthrope who couldn't wait to get away from the human race. By the halfway point of the movie, he's forced to become humanity's vocal proponent. And then the ending reveals he was right about humans being bastards all along.
  • Kangaroo Court: Zira and Cornelius vs. the ape government.
  • Killer Space Monkey: The apes, and the gorillas in particular. Until the truth is revealed at the end.
  • Large Ham: Charlton Heston ("It's a MAAAAAAADHOOOOUSE!!!")
  • Legend Fades to Myth: The religious myth held by the apes in the first movie turns out to be a distorted version of Caesar's rebellion and the human war that allowed apes to come to power as depicted in the sequels.
  • Low Culture, High Tech
  • Monumental Damage: The Statue of Liberty.
  • Motherly Scientist: Chimpanzee Zira, notable psychologist and zoologist, calls Taylor "Bright Eyes", at least until he manages to write his own name, to her surprise. She ends up kissing him goodbye - even though, as she tells him, "You're so damned ugly."
  • Meaningful Name: Brutally played with with Dodge.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: The Three Wise Judges.
    • Meant to be a private gag for the film crew, but Executive Meddling meant the shot stayed in the movie.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the "What have you done" variant.
  • Nubile Savage: Nova.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The ape society was originally going to be more technologically advanced, akin to the book it was based on, but it proved too expensive and the ape society was made more primitive to cut costs.
  • Really 700 Years Old: When Taylor, Landon, and Dodge leave Earth, it is 1978. When they crash-land on the planet, about 2,000 years have passed (Taylor says that Landon is now 2,031 years old), and they still look like they're in their mid-30's/-40's. Given a rather snarky lampshade by Taylor.
  • Schizo-Tech: The objects in the ape society have varied levels of technology.
    • Possibly deliberately invoked by the orangutans. It is shown repeatedly that Dr. Zaius is hell-bent on eliminating any trace of ANYTHING that doesn't mesh with the apes' doctrine of law. The implication is that the orangutans possess far greater knowledge of the technology of man than is generally known,[1] and are deliberately thwarting the advance of certain fields of science in order to prevent the apes from becoming the same self-destructive mess mankind became.
    • The real reason behind this was that the production crew did not have the money to build the super-advanced civilization the apes had in the books.
  • Shout-Out: To Animal Farm. When asked if he knows why all apes were created equal, Taylor replies that "some apes seem to be more equal than others."
  • The Smart Guy: Dodge, for the brief time we knew him. Landon says that he'd walk naked into a live volcano if it meant he could learn something that no one else knew.
  • This Is Sparta: Delivered as only Moses can say it. All together now: GOD! DAMN! YOU! ALL! TO! HELL!
  • Time Dilation: Taylor's crew ages 18 months while 2006 years have passed outside.
  • Tomato Surprise: the Planet of the Apes Ending.
  • Twist Ending: the Planet of the Apes Ending.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: When the movie starts out, the year on the ship's on-board calendar reads 1978. When they crash-land on the titular planet, it's 3972.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Viewers are expected to understand the subtleties, such as slowly making new discoveries and realizing that apes' cruelty towards humans represents our monstrous, self-destructive acts.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Zaius, according to Alternate Character Interpretation. In any case, he obviously already knows what Taylor would discover in the ending.

Dr. Zaius: All my life I've awaited your coming and dreaded it. Like death itself.
Taylor: Why? I've terrified you from the first, Doctor. I still do. You're afraid of me and you hate me. Why?
Dr. Zaius: Because you're a man! And you're right, I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand and hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain. He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him, even himself.
Taylor: What evidence? There were no weapons in that cave.
Dr. Zaius: The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it, ages ago.
Taylor: That still doesn't give me the why. A planet where apes evolved from men? There's got to be an answer.
Dr. Zaius: Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.

  • Wham! Shot: The broken Statue of Liberty at the end, which gave rise to the Planet of the Apes Ending, is one of the best known and most iconic examples.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: The ship with the protagonist is sent into space to colonize a new planet. That's why it contains just three males and only one female. D'oh!
    • Also, portraying gorillas as warlike and violent, chimpanzees as reserved and rational, and orangutans as wise and social. Gorillas are very gentle and docile animals while chimps have been known to exterminate other tribes, including the infants, to take the females and food. Orangutans have a completely anti-social society; males leave upon puberty and live on their own, attacking anyone that comes into their territory.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes

A fellow astronaut, Brent, is sent to find Taylor and rescue him... and somehow also falls in the Planet of the Apes. He first finds Taylor's girl Nova, and with her discovers in a cave a former New York subway station, realizing where he is. The station leads to an Underground Lair inhabited by mutant humans with psychic powers, who have already imprisoned Taylor, and cultivate a "Divine Bomb". When the apes decide to invade the Forbidden Zone and then find the mutants' lair... well, the trope examples below show it's catastrophic.

This movie contains examples of

Escape From The Planet of the Apes

Taylor's spaceship crashes in 1970's Earth. Inside, are three talking apes - Zira and Cornelius, along with another scientist, Dr. Milo. Milo is killed by a non-civilized gorilla, and this prompts a pregnant Zira to baptize her son "Milo". Considering the dangers of talking apes, the US Military starts chasing them, prompting Zira, Cornelius, and Milo to get hidden in Armando (Ricardo Montalban)'s circus.

This movie contains examples of

  • Berserk Button: Apes, when called "monkeys".
  • Fainting: Zira, due to her pregnancy.
  • Little No: "On an historic day, which is commemorated by my species and fully documented in the Sacred Scrolls, there came Aldo. He did not grunt. He articulated. He spoke a word which had been spoken to him time without number by humans. He said, 'No'."
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: The unassuming chimp baby that was the first to be born in a circus sitting in a cage, saying "Mama".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod: Hasslein's obsession with killing Zira's baby merely ensures that nobody notices Zira had switched babies with another chimp mother at Armando's circus.
    • Openly referenced in the movie by the President, played by William Windom, who refuses at first to sign off on aborting Zira's pregnancy, and directly cites Herod's murder of innocent children as a reason.
  • Red Shirt: Dr. Milo—although in fairness, his death wasn't actually meant to happen until much later in the film. Actor Sal Mineo had trouble working with the makeup prosthetics however, and the character's death was bought forward.
  • Sequel Hook: the ending scene was meant to simply connect this movie to the future. Executive Meddling led to more movies.
    • After his experience being forced to write this sequel after Beneath (which was written with as final a Downer Ending as could be done), screenwriter Paul Dehn wrote the ending of Escape as both a link to the future story arc and with enough wiggle room to squeeze in another movie if the studio wanted it.
  • Time Travel
  • Together in Death: Cornelius and Zira.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Otto Hasslein; he believes the only way to prevent the fall of mankind (and by extension, the destruction of Earth) is to kill the apes and their child.

Conquest Of The Planet of the Apes

20 years have passed. During them, cats and dogs died of a mysterious disease, and apes became both household pets and servants for mankind. The United States became oppressive and fascist in culture, with both uniformed classes and castes, and relies heavily upon ape slave labor. Milo, now known as Caesar, is a horseback rider in Armando's circus.

This movie contains examples of

Breck: Caesar. A king.

Caesar: Tonight, we have seen... the birth... of the Planet of the Apes!

Battle For The Planet of the Apes

Set after a nuclear holocaust in 1993.

This movie is the Trope Namer for

This movie contains examples of

  • After the End: The apes are in charge because humanity somehow managed to nuke themselves after the events of Conquest.
  • Big Bad: Aldo
  • Bittersweet Ending: The apes and the non-mutant humans seem to be reconciled, but Caesar was forced to kill Aldo, violating the most important of his society's laws, because Aldo murdered Caesar's son.
  • Book Ends: Begins and ends with the Lawgiver telling the story to ape and human children.
  • The Cameo: John Huston as The Lawgiver.
  • Director's Cut: The extended version included in the Legacy Collection improves the film considerably.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans are treated as second class citizens at best by the apes for most of the film.
  • Foreshadowing: Everything involving Mendez.
  • General Ripper: Kolp and Aldo.
  • Meaningful Name: Mandemus, possibly. His names sounds like the legal term mandamus, which involves a writ commanding somebody to perform a certain action. Possibly appropriate, since his job in the film is acting as Caesar's conscience and guarding the Ape City armory.
  • Nuke'Em: Kolp's contingency plan.
  • N-Word Privileges: An ape can say "no" to another ape, but a human may never say "no" to an ape.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Virgil.
  • Papa Wolf: Caesar. Too late for anything but revenge, however.
  • Sour Supporter: Mendez is this to Kolp.

Return to the Planet of the Apes

Occupying its own continuity, yet clearly drawing aspects from the first two films, Return to the Planet of the Apes is an animated series that was produced in the 1970s. In the year 1979, a small space shuttle with a three man crew is launched as part of an experiment in relativity, achieving a speed where one hundred years and multiple days goes past in almost no time at all for them. But then their ship develops a malfunction and goes blasting towards an alien planet, hurtling rapidly through time to the point that, when they crash-land in a lake, over 2000 years have passed for them. Setting out in hopes of finding civilization, they discover themselves on a strange world of caveman-like humans and advanced, intelligent apes... which are not too welcoming towards the intelligent humans.

This animated television series contains examples of

  • Blue Eyes: The nickname Zira calls astronaut Bill Hudson.
  • Continuity Nod: The series is full of Shout-Outs to Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Cornelius and Zira the Chimpanzee are scientists with respect for humans, Dr. Zaius the Orangutan is a lawkeeper hoping to kill the space travelers to avoid the destruction of the Ape society, Nova the savage woman... Nova even has the dogtags of Brent, the main character from Beneath.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The desert region (obviously a Shout-Out to the Forbidden Zone) where the astronauts first land; out of nowhere, an avalanche, fire, and earthquake all appear in their turn, with both the fire and the earthquake vanishing without a sign they were there after destroying the astronauts' survival packs and swallowing Judy Franklin, respectively.
  • Fantastic Racism: The apes look down on humans in general as being little better then animals, but General Urko was champing at the bit to exterminate all humans before the space travelers landed.
  • Nubile Savage: Nova
  • Screwed by the Network: The series was cancelled partway through the creation of its fourteenth episode, meaning only the first thirteen were ever aired.
  • Token Trio: Bill Hudson (white male), Jeff Allen (black male), and Judy Franklin (white female) in the initial crew, then Bill, Jeff, and Nova for the series proper, until Judy came back.

Planet of the Apes (2001 film)

An astronaut, Leo (Mark Wahlberg), works in a space station where genetically enhanced apes have been trained to pilot space pods, to search and study a strange electromagnetic storm phenomenon. When it's found a chimpanzee flies into it and after his signal's cut, Leo chases it in another pod against orders, to save the chimp. The storm makes him travel in time, after which he crashes on the planet below, encounters some humans and is captured by highly evolved apes. He is enslaved with the rest of the humans. He is tortured by the apes until one (Helena Bonham Carter) takes pity on him and helps the humans escape. He goes to the apes' Forbidden Zone Calima to discover the crashed space station, which apparently has been there for thousands of years. There, the hero plays a recording made by the ship crew, which tells they decided to go after Leo, crashed, and the apes rebelled and killed most of them. An army of apes attacks and the astronaut responds by hitting them with the fuel from the station's tanks. When the ape army recovers, a large battle occurs until the original chimp returns in its space pod. It remembers Leo and shows affection towards him; the apes revere it as a God, thus they stop fighting and treat the humans fairly. Having achieved peace and become a hero, the astronaut decides to return home through the same electric spacestorm. He goes back to Earth... and discovers the civilization he used to know is now inhabited by talking apes.

This movie contains examples of

  • Actor Allusion: Charlton Heston is an ape, and Linda Harrison (Nova) also cameos.
    • Charlton Heston's character bemoaning the human invention of guns (keep in mind this was near the end of Heston's tenure as president of the National Rifle Association).
  • All-Star Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Kris Kristofferson.
  • All There in the Manual: The ending only makes sense if you read the explanation on the movie's website.
  • All There in the Script: Most humans of the planet end up not being named on-screen.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Oberon reports.
  • The Cameo: Linda Harrison (Nova) as a human slave; Charlton Heston as Thade's father.
  • Cargo Cult: Leo's chimp is confused with the apes' God, Semos.
  • Continuity Nod: So, Zaius, you go from being Minister of Science, proclaiming that apes and humans have nothing in common biologically, declaring that the principles of science and theology work side-by-side, and those who go against it are instant heretics to a senator who constantly reminds those of humanity's destructive nature? No wonder Thade closely followed, and even amplified, your ideals.
  • Conveniently-Close Planet: Leo flies to earth from wherever the space station was in that tiny little spaceship. It can't have been very far in that ship with no toilet or way to get up and move around - or that craft could really book it.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The ape's religion. Though unlike Jesus, Semos is belligerent...
  • Development Hell: The film was announced as early as 1988, and people such as Peter Jackson, Chris Columbus, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were involved before it started to take off in 1999.
  • Dull Surprise: Leo doesn't seem nearly as surprised to be on a planet of talking apes as you'd think he would.
  • Gainax Ending: It is pretty vague, although not necessarily in a bad way. Not in a good one, either.
  • General Ripper: Thade.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Kris Kristofferson is one of the fugitive humans.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Leo pays absolutely no attention at all to the drop dead gorgeous Daena.
    • Subverted with Interspecies Romance: Leo and the female ape Ari are clearly attracted to each other, and he kisses her.
  • Kick the Dog: General Thade knocks the human-friendly (and unevolved) chimp Pericles against a wall, breaking the chimp's leg; thus cowed, Pericles crawls pathetically back into the safety of his cage.
  • Mythology Gag: Senator Nado's wife is named Nova, and Thade's father is named Zaius. Thade's father, (Charleton Heston in a cameo) repeated Taylor's famous "damn you all to hell..." line as he lay dying.
  • Negative Space Wedgie
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Leo's search for his chimp causes both the deaths of his workmates and the creation of the ape society.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Nice job, Thade. Pericles was seeing seen as the arrival of apes' god, Semos. Now that you that you wounded him, your "friend" Attar felt betrayed and refused to give you any more help when you needed it.
  • Now Do It Again Backwards: Going through a storm pushes you ahead in time, and going through it again in the opposite direction...
  • Nubile Savage: Daena
  • Obviously Evil: Seriously, just look at Thade's face and listen to his voice.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse
  • Rock Beats Laser: A technologically advanced society is implied to be inferior to a simple, agrarian one.
  • Science Is Bad: Just one example: genetically enhancing apes to make them more suitable for work makes them later rebellious.
  • Shout-Out:

Attar: Take your stinkin' paws of me, you damn dirty HUMAN![2]
Thade's father: Damn them. God Damn them all... to hell.

  • Shown Their Work: The evolved apes certainly look more like real apes do than in the original, especially the orangutans.
  • Time Travel
  • Turned Against Their Masters
  • Villainous Breakdown: Thade degenerates into a screeching beast.
  • What Could Have Been: While in Development Hell, several people were attached at various points and vastly different scripts were considered. Had the project been greenlighted at any moment between 1988 and 1999, the movie would have been completely different from Burton's version (except for the apes' makeup: Rick Baker was practically attached from beginning to end). To recapitulate:
    • Adam Rifkin's idea (1988): An alternate sequel to the first film, set centuries later, where the Apes have a Romanesque civilization and use humans as slave labor. A descendant of Taylor played by either Tom Cruise or Charlie Sheen would lead a human revolt.
    • Peter Jackson's idea (1989): Similar to the above, but with the Ape civilization being analogous to The Renaissance and The Hero being a half human, half ape hybrid that a da Vinci-like old chimp played by Roddy McDowall would hide from the Orangutan Inquisition.
    • Terry Hayes' script, based on an outline by Oliver Stone (1994): A gritty reboot with little to nothing in common with the films or the novel, where a scientist played by Arnold Schwarzenegger travels back in time to One Million BC to find the cure of a plague that is decimating mankind and finds himself in the middle of a war between primitive humans and far more advanced, gorilla-like hominids. It got as far as to get a $100 million budget confirmed and Phillip Noyce attached as director before being cancelled when Hayes refused to introduce more comedy.
    • Sam Hamm's script, in collaboration with Chris Columbus (1995): A closer movie to Pierre Boulle's novel, where Schwarzenegger would play an astronaut instead, and the apes lived indeed in a different planet and had a highly-advanced civilization. Almost all of it, however, would be either taken from once advanced ancient humans from the same planet that had wiped themselves out in a war in the distant past, or from TV transmissions from Earth that the orangutans had caught in secret before introducing all the advancements featured as if they were their own inventions, in order to justify their privileged status.
    • James Cameron's idea (1996): An Alternate History of the original saga, where the orangutans had been overthrown by the chimpanzees prior to Taylor's arrival and developed as a result a more advanced civilization. It would begin with original footage from the first film before introducing a second astronaut landing years later, and culminate with the new protagonist meeting Taylor (played by Charlton Heston, of course), now the old founder and leader of a tribe of intelligent humans.
    • Tim Burton's take itself went through different rewrites, having originally an Ari that was an "ape princess" rather than the daughter of a senator, Thade as an albino gorilla, Limbo making an emotional Heel Face Turn instead of remaining a jerk, and Leo crashlanding in New York during his return to Earth instead of in Washington, D.C.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: Done intentionally in the case of female apes. In order to make them seem more attractive, they were given eyebrows, something real apes do not have.
    • And human-sized breasts, evident when the female ape is being "sexy" for the Senator Nado.
      • Note that female apes do have breasts, just not as "perky" as human females.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

This work has its own page.

Planet of the Apes (comics)

  • Adaptation Distillation: The Hungarian comic book adaptation.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The film adaptations do this sometimes, especially based on deleted scenes.
  • Area 51
  • Brains In Jars: The Gestalt Mind, leader of the Inheritors, is made up of five brains, with one of them being the biggest.
  • Canon Welding: The comics, the timeline in Marvel Comics' Planet of the Apes magazine #11, and the subsequent Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definite Chronology try to fit all the series of the franchise in one universe. With varying success.
  • Crossover: Believe it or not, there was an Alien Nation/Planet of the Apes crossover comic.
  • Expanded Universe
  • Expy: The Ape Supremacists are like the Dragoons from the TV series.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the comics, Hasslein realized the ape-ruled future was his fault. He created the space-drive for the mission led by Taylor in hopes of a better future, but it has created a Predestination Paradox which caused the end of human civilization, the rise of the apes, and the destruction of the world. He took it upon himself to prevent the dark future he caused, by killing Zira's baby and the apes themselves to prevent them from having another child.
  • Servant Race: Mutant Drones.

Planet of the Apes (TV series)

  • Aliens Speaking English: Strictly speaking, this goes for the humans. After a thousand years, linguistic drift should have made their English near-incomprehensible to the apes and other humans.
  • All There in the Manual: The only clue we have about how the series might have ended comes from a series of spots shot for the TV movies, "hosted" by Galen. Apparently, Burke and Virdon escaped, although we don't know if they made it back to 1980. Here's the final spot.
  • Apocalyptic Log: "The Legacy."
  • Arc Words: "Friend."
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Galen suffers from this.
  • Bread and Circuses: Prefect Barlow uses the gladiator games to keep the village quiet.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Gorillas (black and purple), chimpanzees (green), orangutans (orange).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Burke.
  • The Determinator: Virdon. He's going to get home, no matter how many idiot balls he needs to carry along the way.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Dragoons, a group of masked apes killing humans.
  • Downer Ending: At the end of "The Deception," the Dragoons have been dismantled and their leader taken away for trial. However, it seems clear that nobody else will be prosecuted, even though all of them are accessories to the murder of at least one human. Fauna goes on living with her uncle, who admits that he covered up the murder of his brother Lucian. And, unusually for this series, Fauna isn't cured of her prejudice against humans at the end. Though Virdon inspired her to be more open-minded.
  • Dull Surprise: Most of the apes accept the idea of time-traveling humans with remarkable calm.
  • Edited for Syndication: Some of the hour long episodes were edited together for local TV reruns as two hour 'movies'.
  • Enemy Mine: "The Trap," "The Tyrant."
  • Expy: Galen (Cornelius).
    • Urko (Ursus and Aldo).
  • Fantastic Caste System: Lampshaded in "The Tyrant." Gorillas do army and police work; chimpanzees are doctors and bureaucrats; and the orangutans control upper-level slots in government, education, and religion.
  • Fantastic Racism: All apes vs. humans, but also chimpanzees vs. gorillas vs. orangutans.
  • Farm Boy: Virdon.
  • Gilligan Cut: Galen, refusing to learn how to fly a makeshift glider, declares, "I put my foot down!" Cut to Galen putting his foot down as he learns to fly a makeshift glider.
  • Gladiator Games: "The Gladiators".
  • Happiness in Slavery: Many of the humans accept their inferiority without question. Tolar in "The Gladiators" is fully loyal to his prefect.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tolar in "The Gladiators."
  • The Heretic: One of Galen's many, many problems.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Urko is Spock's dad.
  • Joisey: In the pilot, Burke mentions he grew up in Jersey City, NJ.
  • Lost Technology: All of human civilization, basically. Zaius has some grenades in his office, which serve as mementos of the human capacity for destruction.
  • Made for TV Movie
  • Malevolent Masked Men Apes: "Deception".
  • Meaningful Name: Galen, who is genuinely intrigued by human history and technological accomplishments, is named after one of the great scientists of antiquity. He passes himself off as a scientist in "The Gladiators."
  • Missing Episode: "The Liberator" didn't air in the United States during the original run.
  • Monkeys on a Typewriter: Comic inversion in "The Gladiators." Prefect Barlow suggests that if you give "fifty humans" enough paint, they'll ultimately manage to create the apes' own great works of art.
  • Nepotism: In the pilot, Galen tells Zaius point-blank that he deserves a job because of Zaius' previous connections with his family.
  • Only Sane Man: Burke, as far as he's concerned.
  • Pet the Dog: Prefect Barlow's behavior at the end of both "The Gladiators" and "The Race."
  • Power Trio: Burke, Virdon, Galen.
  • Prequel: Set over eight centuries before the first film.
  • Propaganda Machine: Even though another set of astronauts landed a decade before the series begins, according to the pilot, the High Council has successfully turned them into tall tales.
  • Retcon: In addition to humans speaking, burying their dead with headstones, and the like, the apes treat them as inferior but sentient creatures, rather than as lower animals. Prefect Barlow, for example, proudly displays a human-made portrait of himself in "The Gladiators."
  • Science Is Bad: Why Zaius is working to keep knowledge about human technology secret.
  • Status Quo Is God: Burke and Virdon make zero progress towards their goal.
  • Stock Footage: The gorilla signalmen are the most obvious example.
  • Theme Naming: Many of the chimpanzees have classical names, like Augustus, Galen, and Lucian.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: Burke and Virdon began their mission in 1980.
  • What Could Have Been: Urko was originally named Ursus (from Beneath), then Urso.
    • He would also have a son named Zonda.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The computer disc.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "The Cure," instead of being deferential to Virdon as usual, Galen sharply dresses him down twice: first for opening up to a village girl about their real origins, then for having a guilt complex about a possible plague epidemic.

Planet of the Apes (video game)

  1. which Zaius himself confirms to Taylor near the end
  2. It's also the first line in the film spoken by an ape, where the original line was the first thing Taylor actually said to an ape in the original film.