WMG / Planet of the Apes

The Remake Took Place In The Past
The was This Troper saw it, is that in order to subvert the expected ending (he was on Earth... IN THE FUTURE!) Marky Mark was still on Earth all along... IN THE PAST!(?) Work with me here... the first (what could be called) human beings showed up about 13000 years ago. Perhaps the apes were here before us. Then, their society collapsed, leaving us to pick up the pieces in time for 10,000 BC. By traveling back in the past, Leo severely altered the chain of evolution. The sudden appearance of their mythical savior provided some sort of catalyst that revolutionized their entire civilization, and continue progressing. Thus, the human race was never given the opportunity to evolve, and most likely died out. Or at least became as primitive as the apes we know today.
  • It is much more logical to assume that it was an Alternate Universe. First and foremost, the technology used by the apes would have been found by later people, and examined. Second, there's the ship, which would have been discovered and led to advancement and hence an unstable time loop. Third, the humans and apes are able to speak modern English, which means that English needed to exist before it existed if your idea were remotely correct. This means that in the time between the plot and the ending, Thade abused the unity of man and ape completely took over.
    • Of course what happened to original cars and stuff isn't explained either, but the movie doesn't offer much in the way of explanation...

In the remake he was on Earth the whole time
The filmmakers tried to do a twist because It Was His Sled, but failed.

It was Earth All Along. But in the end, our hero ended up at least one millennium ahead of when he left. His showing off his technology made others understand it. Letting the non-native chimp stay may have screwed everything up, or it may just be technology advancing.

Gibbons/Siamangs are the butt of jokes to other apes
Gorillas are the military and blue collar workers, Chimps the intellectuals and white collars, and Orangutangs the religious, judiciary and political class. They all live in Ape City. But who is the farmer class that cultivates those maize fields the humans ravage? That's right, the Gibbons. They are small, weak and monogamous to the point of being antisocial. Plus, they run like idiots. They are basically illiterate country bumpkins that live in single pairs attending their own single, isolate farm and land plot, and raising their children themselves to do nothing else. In fact, they usually avoid contact with the cities altogether unless it's time to sell their products or to call the Gorilla army because those pesky humans are ravaging their crops again.

Zaius revealed the truth about Earth's past to Cornelius and Zira at the beginning of Beneath
Alone with them in the beach and inquired about the talking doll, he gave in and told them what he knew about the downfall of humanity and Caesar's... ahem, "Aldo's" rebellion. He also considered that with Taylor gone he had no reason to continue their prosecution and dropped the charges against them. Hence why Zira and Cornelius are free and at home in Beneath, and why they know more about the past in Escape than they did in the original film.

Shortly after the Battle for the Planet of the Apes' epilogue some sort of religious and cultural revolution took place in Ape society
Shortly after the Battle for the Planet of the Apes' epilogue some sort of religious and cultural revolution took place in Ape society. The results were humans being cast out and apes considering themselves racially superior. The sacred scrolls were written (or re-written) to justify this at the time and eventually make this historical event largely unknown to wider Ape society with the religious history in its place. This could have been perpetrated by Aldo sympathisers who replaced Caesar's historical revolution and tolerance of humans, with a mythical set of events where Aldo simply said no more to human barbarity. The ability to speak being lost in the wild human can be explained by a mutated gene being introduced by the slightly mutated humans from the city captured by Caesar at the end of Battle''. By the time Zira and Cornelius are allowed to read the secret historical scrolls more than a thousand years has passed and even these supposedly historical records have been tainted with religious and political agendas.

The slave apes in Conquest were created by splicing human DNA with the apes
It would explain why they all looked so much more human by then. (backstory-wise, they obviously had to use humans in makeup) and were smart enough to perform all those jobs.

Researchers salvaged sperm and eggs from the bodies of the three future apes in Escape and used them to breed the ones from Conquest.
Same idea as above, but more consistent with the technology levels exhibited in the fourth film. Plus, it explains why that other ape's ability to stammer "No" at the end was a surprise to everyone, ape or human: her genes hadn't been manipulated deliberately to have human features, she just happened to have enough ancestry from Cornelius, Zira and/or Dr. Milo to have inherited speech by chance.

The ape society of the original film is actually very small, there are human civilizations all over the planet.
Taylor and crew only see a small section of the world, being geographically New York City and environs. There's no reason to believe that humans are not the dominant species everywhere else.
  • Nice Job Blowing Up The Planet, Taylor.
  • Perhaps the setting of the TV series is simply another geographic location where the humans are more advanced than in the films, but still subjugated; or the TV series may take place in an earlier period in ape history (it can't be later, since Earth gets destroyed in Beneath).

The original film quintology and the live-action series are part of the same continuity.
First the events of Planet (1968) and Beneath happen, with Taylor crash-landing on the planet of the apes and then destroying it, thus ending "timeline A". Just before the climax of Beneath, Zira, Cornelius and Dr. Milo escape, leading to the events of Escape. The combined results of their presence lead to "timeline B", which covers the events of Conquest and Battle. This ends up creating the Ape-Earth of 3085 that is seen in the TV series; while the apes do come to dominate the world, humans remain intelligent and literate but become second-class citizens (a state that the mixed-primates civilisation in Battle was pretty much at). Thusly, when Taylor's ship crashes on the planet in this timeline, there are no Neo-Neolithic humans to steal their clothes and Taylor and co instead make open contact directly with the apes. Which leads to their deaths at the hands of Urko, as stated in the pilot of the TV series, and so there is no detonation of the cobalt bomb (assuming that the Underdwellers even exist in this time) and thusly the planet never gets destroyed.
  • While I do agree that they are in the same continuity, the live action TV series was actually in the original timeline. In the first episode, a book shows a picture of human-dominated civilization taken in 2503. In the original timeline, apes took over around 2550, whereas the events of Conquest in the second timeline took place 1991. The TV series has to take place in the original timeline. As for the events mentioned in the pilot, I do not believe that the astronauts mentioned are meant to be Taylor's group, which arrives in the 40th century. Between 3085 and the 40th century, humans lost their ability to speak. Galen and Zaius from the show may be ancestors of Cornelius and Zaius from the movies.

In Battle, Mandemus' "27 years" comment refers to ape years.
The story Quest for the Planet of the Apes takes place in 1993. In the story, it is mentioned that it had been a year since the nuclear war and that Lisa is pregnant with Caesar's child. At the end of the story, Mandemus starts being in charge of the ape armory. In Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Caesar and Lisa's child Cornelius is a kid, and the men in the Forbidden City say that there have been "12 years of peace," meaning that it should be 2004. When the apes took charge, they must have created their own calendar system so that the measurements of man would be forgotten, hence why Mandemus says that he has spent 27 years in the Ape City armory.
The increase in ape intelligence was deliberate by humanity.
In “Escape” Cornellius and Zira talk about it taking “almost two centuries” after cats and dogs die out for apes to progress from doing simple tricks to performing services. They also say after three centuries more they turned the tables on their owners. This is consistent with the TV series which suggests humanity was still in power in 2503 (assuming we take three centuries to be a rough figure such as 320 years).

In their version of history, the rebellion started with an ape called Aldo said no to a human. Previously apes had just grunted their refusal but for the first time, he actually said “no”.

In “Conquest”, the battle took place in the 1990s with Caesar leading the charge.

By the end of “Conquest”, there’s already one other talking ape. During “Battle”, set an uncertain amount of time later (but certainly within Caesar’s lifetime so not that long) all apes everywhere seem to be intelligent enough for fully human speech and for that matter to be physically capable of articulate speech without an issue.

If ape intelligence and abilities had progressed at the same level in both timelines then, particularly spending centuries living closely among humans, apes should have picked up language centuries before they rebelled if humanity was still in power in 2503. That does put a much darker interpretation on events since we’d know apes were intelligent and choose to enslave them anyway (though this does bring into question why they’d have chosen to “grunt” before they said “no”).

Alternatively, given the rapid development of ape intelligence and the physical changes needed to support it, maybe it’s not a natural process at all. Perhaps we engineered some way to increase ape intelligence and grant them speech, spreadable from ape to ape like a virus (intending to make them better slaves). Unfortunately, it worked too well and the apes became smart enough to overthrow us, which happened sometime after 2503 and created the world of the TV Series. The TV Series is then a prequel to the first two movies (after humans lost the ability of speech).

Then during the events of “Escape”, Zira and Cornelius were carriers of the virus (as all apes are) which caused it to be spread in the present, explaining the rapid increase in ape intelligence in a short period of time. This causes the apes to progress much faster, including speeding up their rebellion (helped by Caesar being there).

In the 2001 remake, some apes followed Leo back to Earth but managed to arrive before him
Essentially, my theory is that there was another craft capable of travelling in time which landed on the ape planet (possibly bringing horses to the ape planet for some reason) which travelled backwards in time on the same path as Leo but "overshot him" and ended up getting there earlier than him. This may have happened soon after or even centuries after he left (it's not uncommon for the same name to be reused for different apes, so we don't know that's the same Thade in the statue). Of course, in theory they could even left before him (if he arrived in 5021, maybe another ship followed him from Earth and arrived in 4021, and the apes used that to travel to Earth in the past and change history). In either case, it's basically a "Back to the Future 2" plot whereby when he tries to return to the present he can't because it's been changed by someone travelling to the past.

This could have allowed apes to take over. It's also quite possible that the Earth wasn't actually ruled by apes at all. We only saw a single city. It's possible that an ape civilisation exists in peace with humanity in this world (after apes arrived in the past, they set themselves up but didn't have the resources to take over), rather than ruling it. This would explain why technology and fashion have developed identically to reality (since humanity's progress wouldn't have changed and the apes could get these things in trade from us). The city may actually be Washington, given to the apes to live in (where they updated the statue and inscription) or merely a city the apes built mimicking it.
Humans losing the ability to speak was a cultural taboo humanity had begun enforcing on themselves
In the original film, humans can't speak. Yet in all prior appearances they can and there's no evidence of why they lost that ability. In the original film it's speculated that we should be physically capable of it and Nova does speak in the sequel. Humans had also been shown living at the same technological level as apes, albeit as second class citizens. So what made us regress? It's possible that this was enforced by the apes. At some point, fearing the danger that humans could cause (possibly after the TV series when the apes saw how dangerous we are), apes decided to drive us from their villages and to make us live in the wild. They believed our ability to speak and live like them made us "too dangerous for animals". So we were forced into a life without any technology and ordered to stop speaking. Any humans caught speaking or trying to communicate using alternate methods were killed until we eventually got the point. Of course eventually children would be born who didn't know of the taboo and vocalising is a natural thing for a child to do, even if they weren't exposed to language commonly. Their parents would begin to teach children not to speak (making it a punishable behaviour) to keep them safe from the apes. Those children would then accept this as a cultural norm, likely taking on a near religious significance, and do the same thing with their children. Over the centuries, the apes would have gotten used to the idea of humans living a primitive lifestyle and never speaking. The original apes punishing humans for speaking would be long gone but the humans would have no comprehension of that and would just keep living the same way.

The Simian Flu from the reboot trilogy also exists in the original quintology, and is the true cause of the downfall of humanity.
In Escape and Conquest, there is mention of an alien virus that killed several species of non-primate animal. The humans think they are immune, but the virus is still inside them, and is also spread to the apes that become their slave/pets. The virus mutates after the Ape Revolt, "humans get sick, and apes get smart." This is why only the Mutants can speak, and why Dr. Zaius thinks Taylor is a Mutant. And the maniacs that blew it up? Two possibilities:
  • A - When the plague started, the military was divided just like in the modern trilogy. You had some that wanted to give scientists a chance to find a humane medical treatment, and then you had some Colonel McCullough style extremists that thought it was too late for that and just wanted to wipe out anyone showing signs of infection. The latter group gets a hold of a nuke, and things get A LOT uglier than they did in the reboot. If the Cold War never grew cold, then the Soviets, believing (incorrectly) that the simian flu is confined to the United States, decides that some atomic fire will keep it from spreading beyond American borders. Either way, the end result is creation of the Forbidden Zone and the final, definitive end of human civilization. The Lawgiver and Zaius are familiar with this aspect of human history, and that's why they're so convinced that Humans Are Bastards.
  • B - Taylor was wrong, there was no nuclear war. Dawn mentions a few nuclear power plants failing after the plague hits. Remember how bad Cherynobl was? Imagine multiple Cherynobls throughout the country as nuke plants, more or less abandoned due to the decimation of humanity via plague, fail. Radioactive waste with 1000 year half-life leaks into the environment, rendering much of the land deadly, but unlike a full-scale nuclear war, most life would be able to survive. Taylor just assumed it was World War III because his generation underestimated just how bad the aftereffects of nuclear war would actually be.