Planet of the Apes
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Planet of the Apes can be found here.

No name was given on camera for the city of apes in the 2001 version. However, the production artwork identifies the ape city as "Derkein." Derkein reappears as the name for the ape city in the Diamond Comic series based in the same world of Tim Burton's POTA. Derkein appears to be derived from a Greek word which gave the English word "dragon."

This film takes place on the planet Ashlar. You can tell that it is not Earth because of its two moons. While the 1968 film did take place on Earth, the original novel by Pierre Boulle took place on the planet Soror in the Betelgeuse system. It is never said where the planet Ashlar is located in the universe.

The year 2029 is shown in the beginning of the film. A video postcard was sent from Earth to Leo Davidson on February 7th according to the novelization. He gets the postcard on the Oberon about a week later, right before he goes into the electromagnetic storm that takes him to Ashlar in the year 5021. According to the novelization, the chronometer reads 5021.946 when Davidson gets to the ruins of the Oberon, now known as the Temple of Calima.

After Leo Davidson went through the electromagnetic storm, the Oberon went through as well, and crashed on Ashlar. However, the electrical storm sent Davidson through time, almost 3000 years into the future; this apparently didn't happen with the Oberon, which therefore crashed some 3000 years before Davidson arrived on the planet. The surviving humans and apes had no choice but to settle on Ashlar and try to survive. The origins of the intelligent apes are described in the novels by William T. Quick, Planet of the Apes: The Fall and Planet of the Apes: Colony. The novels are about how an intelligent ape named Jonathan rose to power and fathered a new race of apes. This is the ape who changes his name to Semos, who is mentioned in the film. The apes subdued the humans and became the dominant species; over the centuries, with no records or memories of the crashed Oberon surviving, the apes started to revere the mythical ruins as the sacred grounds of Calima, while the humans survived as uncivilized tribes.

This is a tricky question to answer. It seems unlikely that horses would be brought on the Oberon for experimentation. It is up to viewers to come up with their own explanation.

Unlike the apes in the novel, who have technology such as 20th century cars, or guns like the apes in the 1968 original film, the apes in this movie do not possess many "basic" forms of technology such as electricity. This is either because Semos choose not to introduce it, was unable to reproduce it, or over time the ape culture simply never developed it. The only gun owned by an ape is Thade's father, which had been passed on generation to generation in their family and not used, but held as an artifact.

Linda Harrison, who played Nova in the first two films, plays a human captive who shakes her head when Davidson asks her, "What is this place?" Charlton Heston, who played Taylor in the first two films, ironically plays an ape in this film, Thade's father. To make it even more ironic, his character has the same name as Zaius, the orangutan who tried to stop Taylor from being free in the first film. Before Zaius dies, he says about humans, "Damn them. Damn them all to hell!" This is similar to Heston's line at the end of the first film, "Damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

Davidson arrives on an alternate Earth where the Abraham Lincoln statue is now an "Ape Lincoln" statue with a plaque that says it is in memory of General Thade. Davidson is then surrounded by police officers and firefighters who are apes. According to Helena Bonham Carter, "Thade beat him there." General Thade, although imprisoned after the battle, apparently escaped some time later and left Ashlar in some kind of spacecraft. Davidson was sent back to the Earth of 3,000 years earlier, but Thade, although leaving much later, ended up earlier than Davidson. The reason this happened is that the order in which someone exits the electromagnetic storm is the reverse order of whoever entered it. In other words, it's an inverse relationship. This is the reason the Oberon crashed on Ashlar before Davidson did and Pericles landed after Davidson.

One theory is that Thade arrived on Earth somewhere in the 19th century. There, he staged a revolt among the apes, not unlike Semos once had done, making the apes once again the dominant species on the planet. So when Davidson arrived 200 years later, he found his own planet conquered by the apes, and a monument erected in Thade's honor. Another theory is that Thade arrived after the Oberon went through the electromagnetic storm in 2029 and that Davidson actually returned on 10/26/2155, the last year seen on the chronometer. Rather than an alternate timeline, Thade would have led the apes of Earth without changing the past centuries and had the Lincoln monument changed in his honor during the 100 or so years before Davidson's return. This explanation would explain why Washington still looks the same as it ever did. It has been suggested by some that Davidson may have landed on a future version of Ashlar that appears similar to Earth. However, the planet that he lands on at the end of the film does not appear to have two moons, and given that Davidson set a course for Earth's location at the end, it would be unlikely that he'd end up on another planet. It has also been suggested that Davidson landed on a different planet, neither Ashlar nor Earth, that is ruled by apes. If this is so, then the reason that their Washington D.C. looks similar to ours is unknown. Another very unlikely theory is that the anomaly took Leo Davidson to an alternate universe where Earth is ruled by apes, and the Thade in that universe is not the Thade from Ashlar, but a version of him that lived on an alternate Earth.

According to Tim Burton, this ending was a nod to a similar ending in the original novel, but also meant as a prelude to a sequel that was never made. Rich Handley's Timeline of the Planet of the Apes contains the following note: "Ty Templeton, author of Revolution on the Planet of the Apes, had intended, in his initial concept for that title, to explore how Thade changed Earth's history. Fox, however, opted to keep the two Apes incarnations separate. Ian Edington and Ben Abnett had also planned to reveal Thade's fate in an unpublished storyline for Dark Horse, which would have featured characters from Semos' world visiting Earth's past in the Oberon's remaining pods, via the anomaly. Their plan had been that the Earth Davidson returned to was not the same Earth he left, but rather a parallel planet similar to that which Ulysse Merou returned to in Pierre Boulle's novel, The Monkey Planet. The Thade name, Edington says, would have been a powerful ape dynasty on that Earth, much like the Kennedys or Rothchilds."

Fox decided not to continue the storyline even though the film was a financial success. Tim Burton has since said that he would rather jump out a window than make a follow-up. Helena Bonham Carter and Mark Wahlberg would have returned if Burton was involved. Paul Giamatti would have been interested in reprising his role as Limbo in a world where apes drove cars, smoked cigars, wore glasses, and sat in boardrooms. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an origin story that reboots the film series, was released 10 years after this film.

Page last updated by joelreitzloff, 10 months ago
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