Follow TV Tropes


Franchise / Planet of the Apes

Go To

"Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport, or lust, or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair. For he is the harbinger of death."

A media franchise based on the 1963 novel La Planète des singes (Planet of the Apes) by French author Pierre Boulle, that has generated nine movies with three separate continuities, a live-action series, an animated series and canon novels.

The franchise, as an allegory of human evolution and hubris, centers on a role-reversal premise where humanity's fall leads the great apes to evolve into a dominant, thriving, highly-intelligent civilization, while humans are now the caged animals.

Primary inspiration for the roleplaying game Terra Primate, by the makers of All Flesh Must Be Eaten.

Now has a character page.


Works in this franchise:

Original novel:


TV Series:


Video Games:

    open/close all folders 

    Franchise in General 
  • Adam and Eve Plot:
    • This was actually the initial plan in the original Planet of the Apes. It was scrapped when the only female crew member was killed in the crash landing.
    • In Planet of the Apes (2001), all humans on Ashlar (the name of the planet is given in comics) are descended from the crew of the crashed Oberon, which happened over 3000 years before. The ship doesn't look big enough to contain enough humans to sustain a population for that long, especially on a world populated by hostile insectoids and dinosaurs that even the well-organized simians have trouble dealing with.
  • Adaptational Heroism: While this is subject to change in future films, the apes under Caesar in the Continuity Reboot starting with Rise aren't as cruel as the apes in the original film series towards humanity, barring the moment where Koba seized power and riled the apes up into a war against the human colony in the false belief that they had killed Caesar. While the apes in the new continuity will fight against humans if necessary, their number one priority from Rise to War has always been to prioritize escaping and getting themselves to safety above all else and generally forego seeking revenge or enslaving humankind. Even Caesar himself ultimately chose to give up on seeking revenge in the end when it had been his motive for all of War and focus solely on getting his people to safety, unlike his previous incarnation in Conquest who, even when he was being merciful to the conquered humans, still chose to treat them unequally.
  • Animal Is the New Man: The entire series is about highly-intelligent apes taking over the human race.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Some of the movies get into this, playing the Evil vs. Evil version of the trope.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: Since the franchise is about talking animals, it was bound to happen.
    • A funny inversion in the first movie occurs when the human Taylor escapes from a medical lab where apes do experiments on humans and runs amok, scaring the innocent residents of Ape City.
    • Conquest climaxes with a cross between this trope and a Slave Revolt as the apes lead by Caesar rise up to overthrow humanity.
    • Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Apes escape from their own facility and release other apes from a zoo to create an army, before disappearing into the forests.
  • Formerly Sapient Species: In the ape-dominated future, humans have regressed into non-sapient creatures about as intelligent as chimps are today.
  • Humans Are Morons: The entire film series, naturally, is the rare example of this in Speculative Fiction where humanity is less civilized than the apes, as opposed to usually being the slightly more civilized ones.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: "Beware the beast Man, for he is the devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport, or lust, or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him. Drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death".
    • Luckily the later movies even this out, the apes are using Ape Shall Never Kill Ape as an excuse to do as bad to humans (if not worse than) what the humans did to them, and later prove they're just as bad as the humans.
      • Lampshaded when one ape crosses the Moral Event Horizon, and others find out about it. A human observes that they "just joined the human race."
    • The reboot trilogy is more even-handed somewhat in the conflict between human and ape characters, but still a lot of the plot is kicked off by the humans being dicks to the apes with very flimsy justification.
  • In Name Only: Both the first film and the remake share nothing in common with the novel that inspired them except the existence of a planet ruled by intelligent apes with humans as savage animals. Both movies, well, ape the Twist Ending of the novel (the narrator returns to Earth after his voyage only to find that it too has been dominated by intelligent apes) though in significantly different ways. Oddly, the third movie in the series, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, is similar to that of the original novel (loosely), but with the roles of humans and apes reversed.
  • Just Before the End: 3 times as a matter of fact.
    • Beneath: Let's just say it ends with a bang.
    • Conquest ends with the revolution of Ape against Man.
    • Rise ends the same way with Conquest, except it adds a worldwide virus that only affects humans.
  • Killer Gorilla: The films have General Ripper-type villains who happen to be gorillas - respectively, General Ursus and General Aldo. Ursus is shown to be a warmongering demagogue Blood Knight whose values are largely embraced by the society around him, while Aldo is a treasonous Dirty Coward who Would Hurt a Child and explicitly violates his society's most sacred law.
  • Killer Space Monkey: At first, one would think the setting is on another planet. The apes there are exactly as brutish and nasty as humans. The truth is though, they're not from space.

There have been multiple comics series set on the Planet of the Apes.

Gold Key Comics

  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) - An adaptation of Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
Marvel Comics
  • Planet of the Apes (1974-1977) - A 24 issue-long black & white serial, this comic featured a mixture of both adaptations of the five films and original stories.
  • Adventures on the Planet of the Apes (1975-1976) - A colored comic adaptation of the first two movies.
Malibu PublishingMalibu Publishing, by way of a division called Adventure Comics, produced multiple Apes comics set after the time of Caesar.
  • Planet of the Apes (1990-1992) - A monthly issue series.
  • Ape City (1990)
  • Planet of the Apes: Urchak's Folly (1991)
  • Ape Nation (1991) - Crossover with Alien Nation.
  • Planet of the Apes: Blood of the Apes (1991-1992)
  • Planet of the Apes Annual (1991)
  • Planet of the Apes: Sins of the Father (1992)
  • Planet of the Apes: The Forbidden Zone (1992-1993)
Adventure also reprinted Marvel's adaptations of the first three films as well as a four-issue mini-series featuring installments from Marvel's Terror on the Planet of the Apes saga.Dark Horse Comics
  • Dark Horse Extra 36-38 (2001) - Three part comic.
  • Planet of the Apes: The Human War (2001)
  • Planet of the Apes: Collector's Comic! (2001) - Minicomic distributed through Toys 'R' Us stores.
  • Planet Of The Apes (2001) - Adaptation of the 2001 film.
  • Planet of the Apes (2001-2002)
Mr. Comics
  • Revolution on the Planet of Apes (2005-2006) - A 6-issue miniseries set after the events of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and ultimately leading up to the events of Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Having seized control of San Diego, Caesar waits for humanity's retaliation, using his unique relationship with time to try and guide apedom to a future that will not end in the fiery apocalypse of the Alpha/Omega bomb, sparking organized ape revolution across the globe. Meanwhile, a gorilla named Aldo becomes the second ape to speak, leading a band of gorilla to slaughter the human personnel of a military base housing a project to train gorillas into combat troops and hijack their arsenal. And all the while, the military of the United States prepares for retaliation. In addition, each of the six issues contained a secondary story also set in the Apeverse, but not directly connected to the ongoing narrative of Caesar, Aldo, and the US government. There were plans to launch a sequel series, Empire on the Planet of the Apes, but it was cancelled.
Boom! StudiosThe largest continuing publisher of "Apes" comics remains Boom! Studios, which has published multiple serials set in both the original continuity and the 2011 reboot continuity.
  • Planet of the Apes (2011-2012) - A serial set in the continuity of the original five films, but taking place 1,300 years before the events of the 1968 film. The storyline from this serial was continued in:
    • Planet of the Apes Annual #1 (2012)
    • Planet of the Apes Special #1 (2013)
    • Planet of the Apes Spectacular #1 (2013)
    • Planet of the Apes Giant #1 (2013)
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) - A prequel to 2011's Rise.
  • Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes (2011-2012) - Set 20 years before the 1968 film, the series was the first entry in a trilogy that tells the story of growing pro-human sentiment within the Ape community and other political upsets, providing a backstory for the protesters who make their doomed appearance in the second film.
    • Exile on the Planet of the Apes (2012) - Set two years after Betrayal.
    • Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm (2012-2013) - Set eight years prior to the 1968 film and blending characters from the film with those from Betrayal and Exile.
  • Before the Dawn (2013) - Prequel to 2014's Dawn.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Contagion (2014) - A one shot that bridges the gap between the first two films of the Reboot continuity.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014-2015)
  • Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive (2014-2015)
  • Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes (2016-2017) - Co-published with Dark Horse
  • Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern (2017)
  • Kong on the Planet of the Apes (2017-2018)
  • War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) - Miniseries that bridges the gap between the films Dawn and War.
  • Planet of the Apes: Ursus (2018)
  • Planet of the Apes: Visionaries (2018) - One shot based on the Rod Serling script for the original movie.
  • Planet of the Apes: The Time of Man (2018)
  • Planet Of The Apes: The Simian Age (2018) - An anthology with stories set in the continuity of both the original films and reboot series.

  • Brain in a Jar: The Gestalt Mind, leader of the Inheritors, is made up of five brains, with one of them being the biggest.
  • Canon Welding:
    • 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.
    • It's a famous discrepancy that the myth Zira and Cornelius relate in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, in which an ape named Aldo is the first ape to speak, whereas in the films, that role goes to their son Caesar. In the Revolution comics, Aldo is instead the first natural-born ape to start speaking like a human, wheras Caesar is a time-traveler who was conceived in the far future.
    • A darker version can be found in the 5th issue of Revolution, which connects the ambiguously hopeful ending of Battle for the Planet of the Apes with the Ape-Earth seen in the original film when a Corrupt Church emerges from the hill tribes to conquer their lowland kinsfolk and begin overturning the laws that acknowledged humans as apes and equals, driving the humans away to live like beasts in the wilderness. Ironically, the final issue of the mini-series shows a still-altered Ape-Earth, one with a technological level closer to 1960s or 1970s Earth and where "mutants" (sapient humans) are launching terror strikes against ape civilization.
  • Corrupt Church: In the secondary story of issue #5 of Revolution, a new, violently ape-supremacist sect of the Lawgiver's teachings is shown emerging from the segregationist hill tribes and beginning to sweep down over the peaceful lowland ape tribes. Their actions will ultimately birth the Planet of the Apes seen in the first film.
  • Crossover: There have been multiple cases of this in the comics.
    • Malibu's 1990s series included "Ape Nation", an Alien Nation/Planet of the Apes crossover.
    • Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes, which functions as an alternate sequel to Beneath where Zira, Cornelius and Dr. Milo traveled back to the early 20th century instead of the 1970s, became the leaders of the Mangani and the adoptive parents of Tarzan. However, their time travel messed with the fabric of space-time enough that the Mahars of Pellucidar begin threatening multiple dimensions.
    • Kong on the Planet of the Apes, where a group of apes pursuing Taylor into the Forbidden Zone shortly after the events of the original film encounter a Kong washed up on the shore next to the Statue of Liberty, prompting an Ape expedition to Skull Island.
    • Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern is, well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. In the DC Continuity, "Ape-Earth" is a closed off, temporally looped, parallel timeline in which superheroes never existed and man ultimately devolved himself, allowed apes to conquer, and then destroyed the planet. This made it useful to the Guardians of the Universe as a dumping zone for the Universal Ring, a Gone Horribly Right experimental ring that grants its bearer the ability to draw power from the entire emotional spectrum.
    • The Primate Directive is a crossover between the 2nd film and Star Trek: The Original Series, involving the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) trying to stop a Klingon named Kor who has crossed into the Apesverse through a wormhole and seeks to conquer the apes as Klingon subordinates. In the end, the Enterprise gets their Klingon, but fails to prevent the destruction of the Planet of the Apes by the cobalt bomb, leading to them returning to their own universe.
  • Expanded Universe: Many of the stories expand upon different times within the classic or reboot continuities.
  • Expy: The Ape Supremacists are like the Dragoons from the TV series.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Thrice over in the Revolution comics. First, there's the brainchild of Mad Scientist Dr. Bryan Evans; a virulent and lethal primate-targeting pathogen which could potentially wipe out humanity alongside the sapient great apes it was developed as a counter-measure to. Secondly, there's the Inferno Protocol; nuclear bombardment of the Earth in an attempt to kill off all apes. Thirdly, there's "Churchdoor"... which turns out to be the Alpha-Omega Bomb that will destroy the world.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The excerpt from Caesar's journal in issue #1 of Revolution notes that real gorillas are actually gentle-natured and docile herbivores, not the aggressive primates who became the military caste of the Planet of the Apes. He wonders why his gorillas seem to be turning increasingly belligerent and warlike now that they have been freed.
  • 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.
  • Mythology Gag: In the Rise of the Planet of the Apes prequel comic, Caesar's father is referred to as Alpha. This is a reference to the Alpha-Omega bomb from Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
  • Reality Warper: There is some In-Universe speculation in the Revolution comics that Caesar's existence as a temporal anomaly may grant him some ability to alter reality to suit his vision, although it is tied to his subconscious and beyond his control. The secondary story in issue #3 adds fuel to the fire that this might be true, before issue #4 makes it explicit that Caesar is warping reality to bring the Planet of the Apes into being.
  • Retroactive Precognition: In the Revolution comics, Caesar is able to see the future era from which his parents came, up to and including its annihilation by the Alpha-Omega Bomb. In-Universe, a human scientist theorizes that he might have this ability, attributing it to his having been conceived in the future and then carried back through time in-utero.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Revolution comics all feature an excerpt from Caesar's journal at both the beginning and the end of each issue. In the very first issue, whilst still convinced of the righteousness of his cause, he expresses concern about the behavior of his ape followers now that their human masters have been removed. In particular, he notes that, in many ways, they seem to be devolving into a combination of the worst traits of non-sapient apes and humans, specifically calling attention to the increasingly violent behavior of the gorillas.
  • Servant Race: Mutant Drones.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the Rise of the Planet of the Apes prequel comic, there is a chimp named Chambers, who is named after the 1968 film's makeup artist John Chambers.
    • Two other chimps in the prequel comic include Verdon and Burke, who are named after human astronauts Alan Virdon and Peter Burke from the live-action TV series.
  • Stable Time Loop: Well, obviously, given the series, but a smaller example shows up in the Revolution mini-series, where access to surviving material about the time-traveling Zira and Cornelius, and the birth of Caesar, is explicitly stated in the final issue's sub-story to be why Zaius took the two archaelogists under his wing.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In the final issue of Revolution, Zaius attempts to break the Stable Time Loop in all its permutations by murdering Milo on the day that Taylor's ship lands. Instead, a dying Milo informs Zaius that his name has replaced Milo's in the ancient texts written by Caesar, and he half-mockingly notes that if Zaius wants to stop the cycle, he'll have to wait until he comes back another time. Then the reality they are in fades out and then fades in to show Zaius meeting "an engineer named Milo" for the first time at an archaeological on the day that Taylor's ship lands.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Planet of the Apes (Milton Bradley, 1974)
  • Planet of the Apes (Winning Moves, 2001)
  • Monopoly: Planet of The Apes (USAopoly, 2017)
  • Planet of the Apes (IDW, 2017)

All the films have received novelizations, minus the original 1968 film and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Both TV series have been novelized in part as well, with four novels ("Man The Fugitive", "Escape To Tomorrow", "Journey Into Terror" and "Lord Of The Apes") adapting eight episodes of the original TV series and three more ("Escape From Terror Lagoon", "Man, The Hunted Animal" and "Visions From Nowhere") adapting nine episodes of Return to the Planet of the Apes. The original film series' four novelizations, the seven TV novelizations and the 2001 film's novelization were re-issued in a series of four omnibus editions in 2017 and 2018.

The 2001 film has four original tie-in novels: The Fall, Colony, Force, and Resistance. There were more planned, but they were canceled due to poor sales.

Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes is the first in a planned series of six novels by Andrew E. C. Gaska, intended to add to the canon of the original movie series and fill in some gaps. The second novel, Death of the Planet of the Apes, was scheduled for release in 2013, but had been pushed back (seemingly indefinitely)), eventually getting a release date of November 2018. Conspiracy centers on Landon and his ordeal while Taylor is with Zira and Cornelius in the first film. It also tells the story of Dr. Milo, and his endeavour to study and repair the damaged spacecraft.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm is a novel that takes place in the days following Rise of the Planet of the Apes and released in 2014 to tie into the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations is a novel taking place after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and released in 2017 to tie into the release of War for the Planet of the Apes.

Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone is a collection of short stories taking place in the continuity of the original films, released in 2017.

Planet of the Apes: Caesar's Story is a 2018 novel where the character Maurice retells the events of Rise/Dawn/War and the events in-between.

  • Anthology: Tales from the Forbidden Zone
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The cover of Colony features an ape facing off against a dinosaur.
  • Interquel:
    • Conspiracy takes place during the events of the 1968 film.
    • Firestorm takes place after Rise and is billed as a prequel to Dawn.
    • Revelations takes place after Dawn and is billed as a prequel to War.
  • Framing Device: Caesar's Story is Maurice telling the story of Caesar to his son.
  • Mythology Gag: The Alpha-Omega group, which burns buildings and puts graffiti of the Alpha and Omega symbols together, is a reference to the Alpha-Omega bomb from Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
  • Omnibus: From 2017-2018, the older film/television novelizations were reprinted in four omnibuses by Titan Books:
  • Shout-Out:
    • It is said that people in France were among the first of many infected with the Simian Flu. This not only correlates with the end credit sequence of Rise but also reflects how the franchise itself originated in French, with Pierre Boulle's novel.
    • Koba's friend, a chimp named Milo, is named after Dr. Milo, a chimp from Escape From The Planet of the Apes.
    • Tommy calling Koba ugly is a reference to Zira calling Taylor ugly in the 1968 film.

"I can't help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man. Has to be."

Alternative Title(s): Planet Of The Apes


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: