In the harsh, technology driven Cold War atmosphere of the 1960s, many U.S. politicians call for two space organizations; a military minded and controlled space agency and a civilian/government controlled space agency. Due to changing political views and policy, in 1968 the United States Department of Defense creates the American National Space Agency as the military branch of the U.S. space program. It serves as the continuation of the military research and development with NASA as the civilian version of the space program. Existing at the time and in the same context, ANSA and NASA soon become "friendly rivals". Because both have similar goals they share information freely, however each approach the problem from very different angles. While NASA wins the space race to the Moon, ANSA is involved in a military race to the stars. After all, political power is often also dictated by the amount of land and resources that you hold. The Soviet Union is a far larger territory than United States, but if the U.S. can not only put American colonies on the Moon and on Mars, and, perhaps, beyond, then possibly the sheer weight of so many Americans will crush the Soviet military might without the need for war.
In the summer of 1972 ANSA Astronauts Taylor, Dodge, Landon and Stewart are launched from Cape Kennedy on the first manned interstellar exploration flight. The primary objective is to find a planet to build a new world for the leaders of Earth and get word back. They do expect to travel beyond time, and they do. During the course of their flight, the craft passes through a Hasslein Curve, a time warp, propelling them through time.
Months later, ANSA astronauts Brent and Andrews are launched along the same flight path as the previous vessel to probe its unexplained disappearance. Like Taylor's craft before them, they slipped through a Hasslein Curve, and traveled through time, losing contact with home.
Early in 1973 the first vessel emerges from the Hasslein curve reappearing within low orbit of Earth. The autopilot lands off the California coast, slightly north of San Clemente. It is of course met by mobilized United States Navy space flight recovery crews. The recovery crews discover that instead of it's original occupants, the capsule now harbors three space-suited chimpanzees. The apes were taken to the Los Angeles Zoo, where a primitive gorilla in the cage next to them kills one of them, Dr. Milo. During a battery of cognition and reflex exercises, the two other apes reveal that they are intelligent and possess the ability of speech. Identifying themselves as Doctors Cornelius and Zira, they are brought before a scientific inquiry after they express discontent over their treatment and are miraculously accepted as friends of the planet Earth. No one questions why these chimps are as tall as humans.
It becomes assumed that the ships are somehow being propelled back and forth through a time hole based upon the ape's stories. They claim they came back on Taylor's ship, but the U.S. officials don't know what to think. However, since the apes do say that they knew him, Taylor becomes the focus of interrogations.
Through underhanded interrogation and analysis of the spacecraft, Doctor Victor Hasslein who initially predicted the ships would travel through time while in space when Taylor left, learns the ultimate fate of the human race and the planet Earth. He convinces the President that the apes are in effect a threat to Humankind. Cornelius and Zira are taken to a military base for further interrogation.
Well aware of the peril they're in, Zira and Cornelius attempt an escape from the facility. During the escape, Cornelius accidentally kills a guard. With the help of Dr. Stephanie Branton and Dr. Lewis Dixon who work for the government they flee to a circus where Zira, now pregnant, gives birth to their baby named after Dr. Milo. Leaving Milo in the care of Armando the circus owner, while taking a circus chimp's child they set off to evade their pursuers. Hiding on an abandoned ocean liner, the two fugitive apes are eventually confronted by Dr. Hasslein. Believing that the child is a threat to humanity, he kills all three apes, before being killed himself.
Over the next 8 years, due to the fear a planet of apes may possibly be planning an invasion, the government opens secret sectors so that space exploration expands. Unmanned and chimpanzee flown space probes range to the stars and back. Manned flights over greater distances are becoming more common as well. At the same time however, the governments of Earth are becoming more totalitarian in order to cope with increasing economic, political and energy pressures that abound.
In August of 1976, Astronauts Jeff Allen, Bill Hudson and Judy Franklin are launched from Earth completely unaware of the previous missions, as this was labeled as just another routine mission under the command of the new government branch working silently to discover the origin of the apes. Their vessel enter a strange energy distortion and disappears into the future just as those before them have.
All information concerning the lost spaceships and the secrets of the future as revealed by Cornelius and Zira was locked away under above top-secret security clearance. Few are aware of its existance, and are allowed access to it. Some military bases that families call home become places you enter, but may never leave. Publicly, it is spread via dis-information in tabloids that the two talking chimpanzees were merely an elaborate hoax, and nothing more. At this time, Armando, the circus owner gives Milo the name of "Caesar." Because Caesar was able to speak he received a human education under the care of Armando. Armando keeps his identity and existance a total secret.
In March of 1981, U.S. Astronauts Virdon, Burke and Jones are launched from Earth. They too are unaware of the previous missions. Their ship encounters a strange electrical storm near Alpha Centauri and disappears into the time hole. In reality the returned aircraft was one launched almost 125 years in the future. That same year, Caesar, now almost aged 9 years, begins his bareback horse riding acrobatics with Armando's circus. Due to political repression, the smaller circuses are forced to play to dwindling country audiences, which in turn is helpful in keeping Caesar from receiving dangerous publicity.
1984 is known as the year of the plague from space. It is assumed the plague began when an unmanned space probe (many records were lost in the War) fell from the skies into the ocean contaminating our water supplies somehow. The Plague spread all over the planet in weeks of this pod's arrival, killing all cats and dogs and most house pets. It was "apparently" harmless to humans and other species.
It is during this period of time that in order to replace lost pets, the government suggested we turn to keeping small primates, birds, lizards, etc. The primate pets were to be taught lesser tasks and daily chores in order to befriend them and make them allies in case an attack of space apes ever occurs. The apes are found to be the most useful and gradually become the most common household pet.
These animals have received much publicity since the 1950s for their use in unmanned space exploration, learning sign language, making ample communication and even because scientists have watched them teach one another the things their masters have taught them. It only made sense to take advantage of their intelligence.
Gradually, larger and larger primates besides chimpanzees are taken in. It is in this generation of primates that the plague's genetic effects show themselves on chimpanzees and gorillas especially. Their height and stature increases or decreases making apes smaller and chimpanzees bigger while their intelligence grows as well.
The apes are fed a diet specifically and scientifically designed and manipulated to stunt the growth of gorillas, 'mature' the orangutans and increase bone structure of the chimps. The rapid results are related to the plague. While no one knows, over the decade and on the diet, gorillas became less dangerous, orangutans became better suited for their tasks and chimps became more versatile overall.
The Government unfortunately gradually leans more and more authoritarian in nature. A migration of people from suburbs into the cities results in large towns becoming prominent while farmlands become desolate. Pollution in many areas is never brought under control but a massive air purification plant in the Rockies at NORAD keeps most of California clean.
However, with the increase in governmental structure the ape servants become a slave class develops. In fact, Ape Management Incorporated becomes a semi-public branch of the Government in late 1989. By 1991 they are a full government operation with a huge range of responsibility. The training and day to day interaction with humans bring on an accelerated mental development of the apes. The plan to keep apes as allies is getting out of hand. Apes are not pets, they are slave labor.
In April of 1991 Armando decides that Caesar, now nearly eighteen and an accomplished performer, is old enough, mature enough, to see the truth of the "ape condition." He brings the circus to play in San Francisco. There, Caesar unwittingly reveals his ability to speak to police officers engaged in subduing a rebellious gorilla. Caesar runs as Armando is arrested and taken to the Governor, where he attempts to bluff his way out of the situation. He claims he shouted the curses. The Governor, fully believing that the runaway chimpanzee possesses human intelligence, is almost panic-stricken at the thought of ape rebellion.
Caesar, in an attempt to blend in with the other apes and infiltrate the slave movement, hides with a shipment of apes going to Ape Management Headquarters. There, he is conditioned and trained like the rest of the wild apes brought from around the world for labor purposes. He understands the process from the start and avoids the harsh punishments less intelligent apes are suffering. Graduating school with flying colors, he is purchased by Governor Breck, who is unaware of who he just bought. After learning of Armando's death as a result of interrogation about him, Caesar begins to plant the seeds of rebellion in the clouded minds of the apes by teaching them to unite and work together.
Not even nineteen years after his birth, Caesar comes of age as the head of the New Ape Rebellion. The fall of humankind becomes obvious. His arrival changes most all ape prophecy and folklore.
After building an arsenal piece by piece from summer of 1991 to mid 1992, by the end of the year Caesar overthrew and took control over most of Ape Management. Caesar then lead his apes quietly from the city into the surrounding provinces after they virtually destroyed everything left behind. At first he planned a massive revolt that would destroy mankind. In the end, many lives were lost, but he truly only wanted to gain freedom for his apes.
It is now Caesar's intention to build a new home for his apes with the aid of a few human advisors who were ape sympathizers before the revolt. Massive educational programs within the community are developed almost immediately. They face little harassment and are left alone because elsewhere in the country and perhaps the world, the Ape Rebellion had spread. The Government's breakdown was out of control and the humans cannot survive as they did in the past. Tension amongst all grows...
Around Christmas time in 1992 there is little choice left. Word is spread and nuclear bombs begin to explode all over the planet. It is swift and effective decision by the powers that be. Laser defensive systems are also used to prevent the war from utterly destroying all life. It was a master plan to save only those the governments felt fit. Most major cities are destroyed, however, many surrounding areas remain somewhat livable. This was because the threats lie in cities where apes are used as labor.
Humans in NORAD, the powerful government base inside a mountain near Denver, were not using apes initiated this nuclear Earth clearance by sending out distress warnings to the other countries. Once foreign allies realized the ape threats, they began exploding all major metropolitan regions to keep the apes from spreading their revolt. Most of mankind was lost in either ape battles or the nuclear bombings. Our most 'important' world leaders came to the 4 protected regions before the plot went under way.
For the next several years up to 2001, the surviving human population remains in a state of shock. There is little or no communication between people especially over great distances.
Caesar's community, now completely isolated, accepts the migrating survivors who knew he was there and begins a new ape/human society. Despite Caesar's wishes, humans become second-class citizens to the apes. Cultural divisions among the apes also begin to develop. Soon, a gorilla named Aldo declares himself General and begins to train an "army" of gorilla soldiers.
Caesar's son is born by his wife, Lisa in 1995. He is named Cornelius. Caesar met Lisa one day at ape management when he protected her from a human.
It is also during this time that residual radiation is having its effect on both humans and apes. The radiation and plague altered genes of the apes cause an increase in their already developed mental acuity, and in some cases to a point of pure genius. Humans however tend to become more docile, less given to action when angered. Some children are born mute. That is both a radiation effect and something caused by the plague that needed years to take effect. It is also brought on by living with the evolved apes that led to belittlement, the weakest of whom could kill the average human easily.
Meanwhile, another branch of humanity has developed. The ones that survived the nuclear bombings but stayed behind in the cities, the Mutants. Inspector Kolp, a former aide to Governor Breck, has taken over in the remains of San Francisco and runs a scavenger city full of repressed hate for the rebellious apes that over threw his world. Kolp and the Mutants ironically possess the Doomsday Device.
Almost 9 years after the nuclear attacks, Caesar, along with Virgil, a trustworthy orangutan and the human, MacDonald, venture to the remains of Ape Management in search of the tapes containing the interrogations of Cornelius and Zira. The idea is that this will unlock the secrets of the future. The group is discovered by the Mutants and barely escapes. They are followed back to Caesar's Ape City too.
Kolp orders an attack on Caesar's community in a last-ditch effort to destroy the Ape Rebellion that made him a Mutant. The attack is unsuccessful as Caesar declares they should all fight like 'apes'. The humans living in the Ape City win a temporary equal status with the apes. Kolp dies in battle and Aldo dies after when Caesar confronts him about the death of his own son, Cornelius.
Kolp strangely enough tells Alma his assistant to detonate the Doomsday Device if he doesn't return. She doesn't because Caesar sent in his troops to deactivate it under MacDonald and another human's assistance. This makes the bomb ineffective to all those in the future who still believe it is armed.
The first major Ape City continues to grow. Caesar rules benevolently but human positions in the community continue to erode, seemingly without solution. Some areas of land, including one later known as the Forbidden Zone, begin to become real dangers as animal and plant mutations apparently get out of hand.
Underground of major cities, human Mutants are splitting into factions all under the leadership of 'Mendez' and the beings destined to become 'one' with the Gesalt Mind. They use the power of the mind to create mirages and illusions which deter those who get too close to their hideaways, mostly in subways and buried buildings.
In 2029, a space station called the Oberon the last of it's kind, is still hovering above the earth. It is business as usual. What would be considered 'home' for these astronauts is on NASA's military post, which the government has kept almost under a complete communist control for 30 years. The civilians whom live there are life long service members, their children whom grew up their and families of the retired. They have no idea what is taking place around the world. But they are safe.
These astronauts have no reason to suspect anything more than their superiors lead them to believe and what their orders are as they get delivered should be. It has been like this their entire lives. It was the only way to prevent widespread panic.
This space exploration is secretly looking for life on other planets so the President, the other World leaders saved from nuclear and ape destruction located at Norad, NASA, Area 51 and Washington DC could escape the planet of the apes. These are the only four known places not destroyed by nuclear war.
The space station soon encounters the same electrical storm the other U.S. spacecrafts have in the past. They send out a chimpanzee named Perciles to test the range of the storm's power. He is well trained to fly and maneuver his pod but shortly after entering the void, his ship disappears.
Captain Leo Davidson who left his girlfriend and military brat friends behind on Earth 2 years ago to train these monkeys, hops into another pod himself without the permission of his superiors in order to find his favorite lost monkey. Judging by the relationship, this chimp is the only real friend Leo has on this space station and he doesn't want to lose him.
After Leo's craft disappears into the void, the Oberon is pulled into the same electrical storm and loses gravitational control. Due to the different weights of the crafts, firepower of the engines, fuel capacities, and such, Leo passes Perciles in the storm, however the Oberon passes Leo.
On Earth, just 2 years later in 2031, Washington DC is over run by apes led by a chimpanzee "General" named Thade. The President is forced underground to a bunker with a few of his trusted advisors until an eventual air strike clears the city. NORAD and Area 51 are imploded a year later after it is decided all necessary equipment, supplies and personnel are evacuated to NASA. It is has been long assumed NASA and Cape Kennedy are simply museums at this time so no one suspects it has any other purposes. Rather than have the 'important' humans in the 3 remaining areas, safety in numbers is enforced.
For over a decade, the apes in Washington live a life simulating the way humans used to live in the city. It is during this time, in 2038 that Leo Davidson returns and crash lands his pod in near the Lincoln Memorial statue. As he approaches the statue he sees the statue's head is now that of an ape and the dedication written for the memorial is for General Thade. With the city having been over run by apes they surround him to arrest him. He is later executed.
Elsewhere in 2038, Lisa, Caesar's wife dies. Grieve stricken for nearly two years, Caesar dies, at age 67. Not survived by any children, his rule is turned over to a combined council of apes and humans under the leadership of a particularly well-respected orangutan. He and his officers are christened "Lawgivers."
In the decade after Caesar's passing, conditions between apes and human cities continually get even worse. While educational programs fight to maintain that there is no difference, humans labor under an impression of inferiority. Voluntarily, little by little, they withdraw from active participation in the ape's council and form themselves a sect of the community within the community so to speak. They are eventually almost completely separated from the apes by a river. The humans begin life in what resembles a ghetto in comparison to what the apes have. The level of culture is falling. Seemingly without much of a solution, many humans choose to remain on the west coast or separate from the apes but near them as others fully join the apes and migrate to the east coast.
In the nuclear ruined cities, the lingering Mutant factions have gone into an unforeseen war with one another. The followers of the Gesalt mind win.
Mendez and his loyal followers escape into the subway like transnational transport tubes used secretly for years to carry important people and equipment underground undetected by radar and the enemies overseas. They work their way towards an area currently unknown to apes and man making their new home what will be called The Forbidden Zone. They take with them the last nuclear device on earth, Alpha-Omega Doomsday Device, which has an almost religious significance to the Mutants.
Remember, because Caesar's parents said they saw the planet explode from the window of their space craft as they flew from the Planet of the Apes to Earth in a repaired U.S. space craft, Caesar secretly had the bomb disabled by a surviving scientist who was friends with Macdonald not long after the Mutants first attacked Ape City.
In 2052 Jason, a human and Alexander, a chimpanzee are born and raised together. They are the best of friends. A gorilla named Brutus rises to power in Ape City hierarchy. He is appointed Peace Officer under the second Lawgiver. Human position grows slowly but in all reality, things are only getting worse.
In mid 2069 General Brutus' scouts encounter Mutants in caves near the Forbidden Zone. Brutus investigates and becomes an ally/underling of the Gesalt Mind in a power ploy aimed at taking control of Ape City and protecting the Mutants. The original scouts are "persuaded" by telepathy by the Mutants to forget what they saw.
A year later, Jason, Alexander and the second Lawgiver find themselves in a conflict regarding the Mutants. At the same time they begin to get a hint of what is happening in the world outside of Ape City's general boundaries. A man/ape mute mutation has begun to surface and live near the Forbidden Zone, some serving as slaves of the Mutants. Others live with wild humans. Gigantic animals having mutated from nuclear energy and eating the scavenged foods once fed to the apes in order to genetically alter them for work purposes are being seen. Many small, semi-nomadic communities of apes and humans also exist.
Despite these, a startling separation of apes and humans has developed in each. Many humans seek out other humans while apes and half apes seek out Ape City.
By 2100, both ape and human cultures expand into the Forbidden Zones, taming them as population needs demand. These cultures isolate and grow bitter towards one another. Humans, de-evolving rapidly due to the radiation, are becoming more barbaric. A sudden, fierce strain develops out of the docility in evidence just after the War. The human and gorilla armies are on their way to war.
In 2109 Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, technically the last of Area 51 launches their lone remaining space exploration unit with Colonel Ron Brent in the pilot's seat. His ship encounters the very familiar electrical storm and disappears from site and communication with Earth. Edwards AFB is officially evacuated to NASA and bombed with another nuclear warhead.
In the period around 2170, Mendez's mutant groups have all migrated and settled under what was once New York City. No one knows for sure all the Mutants have established themselves underground there. The mixture of their bloodline with the other mutants has produced rudimentary telepathic powers not envisioned even by this otherwise highly evolved race.
The overall population of Earth is reduced to mere cities worth of people and apes located on the West Coast, near New York City, in the Forbidden Zone and at NASA.
During fall of 2220 gorilla and human armies slaughter one another in battle thirty or forty miles north of San Francisco. Two survivors, a gorilla named Solomon and a human named Jovan, form an uneasy but necessary truce. They are injured but go together to be healed and taught by the half man, half ape hermit, Mordecai. They meet their death at the hands of animalistic ape and human mutants.
The 25th century is the turning point in world history. It is where human devolvement coincides with the ape evolution. The last of the known apes head towards New York City where the others have gone, and the last of the known humans have joined their tribes as well.
While humans worldwide are left defeated and have become, primarily, a slave culture tolerated but completely disrespected by the apes, the inhabitants of the world seem to have accepted their positions. Gorillas however aggressively pursue dominations of the apes, and this comes during a new age of exploration. Populations of apes push out in all directions. Land is farmed and with slave help, cultivated. New outposts are set up and contact is made with other surviving groups from the War. Gorillas looking for trouble cause a few more minor skirmishes but on the whole, a peaceful time emerges as energies are channeled into retaking a world.
The cultural heritage of Caesar's original Ape City becomes widespread as regional governments are designed after the Lawgiver/Council mold and made the center of all ape culture. Some bands of renegade humans make themselves know and continually harass ape outposts while ravaging farms and fields for food. This causes ape unrest.
In the early 26th century the Oberon space station appears out of the electrical storm and crashes to an uninhabited area of Earth near the Forbidden Zone. The survivors are hoping to find the trained chimpanzee Perciles or possibly Capt. Leo Davidson but instead discover that their crew of apes have gotten too smart for them.
The smart drugs, genetic altering serums and man/animal experiments went array, with most effects only visible to future generations. The little monkeys and apes become large and 'super' smart and strong simians.
One ape in particular, Semos, takes control of the other apes and instructs that all humans left aboard the ship are to be killed. Shortly before the murders begin, some of the humans record a visual diary of sorts on the ship's monitors to leave a warning to Leo or whoever finds the Oberon.
Semos meets with the other apes on Earth and becomes a sort of Messiah to the apes of his era. He tries to warn others that Perciles will soon come as well. He wants him greeted as though they 'are one and the same'. The apes have grown to form a steady government but have no religious structure. They misinterpret this as almost a prophesized second coming of an Ape Christ. He also warned the apes that guns are the reason mankind failed so he ordered all weapons destroyed.
Four generations pass where apes mingle with half apes, genetically altered apes, and other apes that come and go from different positions in society as tribes of speaking humans and non-speaking humans also spread and grow.
Weapons of destruction are hidden from both apes and humans as the lawgivers agree it is the only way to maintain true peace and safety within Ape City. In time, guns become a thing of the past and the secret of a select few who do not use them even though they have access to them.
In February of 2720, Leo Davidson's ship crashes into a lake between the Forbidden Zone and Ape City. He finds himself immediately in the middle of a gorilla sanctioned human slave collection. Everywhere he turns, he sees apes hunting humans and putting them in sacks, cages and a caravan to march them wherever it is they march these savage looking people.
Back in Ape City, Leo discovers not only his destination, but that the humans of this planet, not realizing it is merely his future, are treated like either wild animals or are used as general task servants.
Ari, the local leader's daughter, buys Leo and a human female named Daena before they are put on the auction block by the slave trader. Convinced Leo is different from other apes, Ari eventually gives in and helps him, Daena and some other humans escape to the Forbidden Zone.
Ape Army leaders Thade (named after the chimpanzee who invaded Washington) and Attar not far behind them as they search for Leo's crashed ship and the Oberon whom he is convinced may be not far away waiting for him.
After getting some of his equipment out of the sunken pod he flew in to the swamp, they continue on in hopes of finding Perciles or getting a signal to Oberon. Eventually after harrowing escapes from the apes, he finds the space station. It has crashed and inside he discovers what happened to the survivors.
Tribes of humans from all around gather together near the Oberon. He didn't send for them, but word spread quickly and they want to help Leo to fight the Apes. At first he has no interest in helping them or fighting apes at all but now he must fight back just to survive. He accepts that there is no means to get off the planet of the apes, so war is inevitable.
In the midst of a heavily anticipated ape vs. human war, the first in centuries, Perciles's ship arrives above the Oberon. All fighting ceases as the humans haven't any idea what is happening and the apes bow assuming this is Semos returning as their Messiah. Thade, having been warned by his dying father (who was once Chief Office of the Army under the Lawgiver) that humans once kept apes in cages, tries to kill both Perciles and Leo to prevent history from repeating itself.
Thade fails and is imprisoned in the Oberon as both apes and men turn their backs on him once they learn of the lies he and his family have hidden for centuries. Attar, the Gorilla General, swears with the humans to a united future full of peace and equality amongst one another. They bury their dead with no discernable head stones so all may be mourned equally.
Perciles stays behind with Ari as Leo gets in the chimp's pod and flies back into space and ever closer to the electric storm. He gets caught in another time warp. Elsewhere, a particularly daring raid by revolting humans not knowing of Attar's peace treaty heads into a fairly large ape population. It causes outrage and public cry from the apes also not aware of truce. Guns are systematically reintroduced to the ape armies. Destruction of the outlaw humans is made simple and efficient. The Lawgiver of the day rewrites the Sacred Scrolls based on what he now knows, and does away with the Semos myth. He inadvertently depicts a rather unflattering portrait of humanity to forewarn apes of the future.
Repeated wars between the apes that would not accept humans as equals and Attar's apes that chose to live peacefully with humans continued off and on for 30 years. Attar plays a focal point until his passing.
For a moment around 2800, all seems to be peaceful, but it is not. The spread of the Sacred Scrolls as a precautionary measure proves to be more of a reactionary move, and their influence reinstates the earlier days of isolation. Eventually growth has slowed enough in other areas of Ape Culture that orangutans take more and more of the power formerly in the hands of the gorillas and chimpanzees. They now rule almost completely.
The loss of communication between human populations and apes is to a point that the Forbidden Zone is said to be completely unlivable and off limits to all apes. This is partially true, but not necessarily the result of poor conservation techniques but the radiation blasted soil that has been turned into deserts. This works to the advantage of the underground telekinetic mutants who wouldn't have it any other way. Apes staying where they are, humans fearing what they do not know and Mutants left alone.
Humankind grows completely docile and loses all hope. Men with the ability to speak are nowhere to be found. When the classes separated, man to the woods, apes to the city, half apes dying out, and mutants go further underground, cultural patterns in the isolated areas retain shards and snippets of others. Thus, one area might continue to have the Lawgiver officer while another might operate completely differently. The Ape City near New York becomes so isolated in this period, so independent as each generation passes that some lawgivers refuse to keep a historical record that accurately chronicles the west coast origins of Ape City and Caesar.
During the summer of 3085, U.S. astronauts Alan Virdon and Peter Burke who were launched originally in spring of 1981 crash land. They survive (unlike their fellow astronaut who died). This craft lands in the region of the United States that was once southwestern California. It is surprisingly inhabited by both humans and apes. However, these humans work for apes under strict law. At this time the ape government which rules over most of the area is an orangutan faction headed by Doctor Zaius. General Urko, a gorilla, works cooperatively with him, but is constantly reminded that Zaius is in charge. Urko despises the situation. More importantly to Zaius and Urko, the constant threat of the renegade astronauts starting a human rebellion. This leaves the apes with the task of apprehending and executing them.
The astronauts gain a chimpanzee named Galen as a friend and eventual traveling companion. Galen uses all the contacts and connections he can. There is his old girl friend, his uncle, other business associates, people who owe him favors and such, all brought together to keep the astronauts safe from the law.
On occasion are they captured, tortured, interrogated but they always escape. In each of their travels and public encounters they leave a few traces of the twentieth century human culture behind. They introduce certain agricultural and farming techniques that don't do too much good for the humans because eventually the apes steal them to advance their own civilization.
Despite several attempts to work hand in hand with apes, such was the case when they saved the Ape General from the crumbles of a large building after an earthquake; Virdon, Burke and Galen are forced to live on the run the remainder of their lives. It saddens them being unable to fit into any ape or human culture.
Those who met them are deeply touched by their passion to help both man and ape alike. There was a blind ape girl who actually falls in love with one of the astronauts until she realizes he isn't an ape. Many humans considered them witches, and apes considered them valued laborers (and fishermen). They faired well when forced to race horses, and even proved flight was possible by flying from a hang glider. All hope of returning home was lost when they found a video recording from centuries earlier depicting the fall of mankind to the apes. A startling revelation arose when speaking humans were found selling mute humans for profit to apes. This was worse to them than the men forced to fight like gladiators for the gorilla's amusement.
It was these astronauts that caused a final West Coast separation of cultures once and for all. Gorillas were seen for what they were, the aggressors of society, and all other apes headed East for 'New Ape City.' Humans also migrated away. Both human and ape eyes were opened wider than the astronauts realized.
However, by time the apes and humans migrated east, leaving the militant Gorillas behind, the fall of humankind is complete.
By approximately 3400, the combination of radiation deterioration and general demoralization succeeds in wiping out the last of the humans' mental capacity. They have settled not far from ape cities, but are forced away as unproductive and useless animals. They now live as hunted creatures in the forests, wild by the habitually difficult gorilla forces. Every time there seems to be a hint of hope for the humans, it is lost.
The division between Ape City and the secrets buried near or around the Forbidden Zones have also increased and brought on something resembling the Dark Ages. Cultural progress slows to a halt in some areas, in many ways, almost regressing. All knowledge and recognition that humans once had a major civilization is finally lost. If you were to ask the general ape public, humans have never spoke.
All truth is either lost or concealed by conservative orangutans. Progressive chimpanzee elements are stifled. Gorillas hunt humans for sport to the disgust of chimpanzees.
Later in this period around 3500, chimpanzees begin to be use humans as experimental animals to progress medicine and science. A certain instinctive survival pattern remains in the humans but it is less than expected. Some humans are eventually worked back into ape culture as slaves, some are put in zoos, but none are ever treated with care or respect.
In September of 3960 Colonel Ronald "Ron" Brent's advanced spacecraft arrives in the atmosphere and crashes in the desert of what was once Manhattan leaving very little in the way of useable equipment or supplies. His leg is broken on impact and after waiting to no avail for someone to surface, he assumes the planet is uninhabited. A traveling troupe of humans eventually passes by his ship who take him in and nurse him back to health. One of the young nomad children befriends Ron. Ron gives her the name of "Nova" and teaches her to say her name. Ron gives her his military identification necklace tags, which she wears like a gift from the Gods. Once he is healthy, Ron travels with the tribe for a while until he becomes separated from the tribe during a severe sand storm. Lost from the tribe, he finds his way back to his crashed ship where he makes himself a home. He spends the better part of 20 years there not knowing what day or year it is. He leaves the general area only to fish and collect fruit from a nearby lake and forest known as Hidden Valley.
The ANSA spacecraft launched in February of 1972 containing four astronauts enters the atmosphere in November of 3978. The ship crash-lands in an inland sea somewhere in the area south of what was once Long Island. Land masses have shifted so that is no longer oceanic. Stewart's cryogenic capsule has ruptured during the course of the flight, and the vacuum conditions during flight have mummified her corpse. Shortly after reviving the surviving crew, the ship founders in Long Island Sound, which sports a now canyon-like topography. Reaching shore in a raft, The astronauts journey across the barren desert to a forested area, where they find a tribe of wild humans grazing on planted crops.
This is where they too find representatives of what was once the human race like Leo, Virdon, Burke, and Brent all had done before them. As they begin to intermingle with the group, they find themselves in the middle of a gorilla human hunt, where Taylor and Landon are captured but separated, and where Dodge is killed. His throat injured in the attack, Taylor is unable to speak to his captors. Taken to Ape City, Doctors Zira and Cornelius (named after relatives from previous ape generations) run tests that eventually lead to the discovery of Taylor's superior intelligence. The Lawgiver council perceives him as a threat and makes plans to exterminate the human. During a mock trial, Taylor discovers that Zaius has subjected Landon to experimental brain surgery, reducing him to a mental vegetable.
Zira and her nephew Lucius take Taylor and his female companion, the same one Brent knew as a child named Nova, into the Forbidden Zone. After a little rebellion from Taylor, they are taken to the site of an archeological expedition conducted by Cornelius. It is Cornelius' contention that a civilization had existed previous to that of apes, and that the archeological site contained proof of such. Chief lawgiver and orangutan Zaius (named after his forefather from the west coast) follows them into the Forbidden Zone, intent on keeping the truth hidden.
Nova has been carrying Brent's dog tags in her clothing. The metal tags made too much noise as a child when she ran through the woods. They acted almost as a homing device for the apes to find her tribe so she always kept them hidden. Taylor now takes off his own tags and puts them around her neck. With a sense of déjà vu, she doesn't know what to think.
The area of the Forbidden Zone they meet Cornelius is the place where the remnants of the past civilization has been found. Toys, human dolls that talk and lots more that depict humans as the superior race are discovered. This proves that man came before apes or at least was at one time more advanced.
Taylor and Nova escape leaving Zaius tied to a pole after they get him to admit he knows the truth although the stubborn ape doesn't say much. He does admit to knowing humans were there first but says they also are always known to destroy things they own and cannot be allowed too much control ever again. Zaius has the cave destroyed, along with the evidence of the prior civilization. Cornelius and Zira are arrested, and set to face charges of heresy.
Taylor and Nova leave by horseback farther into the Forbidden Zone. Traveling along the shore, Taylor discovers that he has in landed on Earth in the future all the while as he falls to his knees before a nearly ruined Statue of Liberty.
Shortly after, Taylor is lost in a mysterious void near the Forbidden Zone. Nova is scared and left alone in the middle of the desert on his horse.
In light of recent events, Ape City is considering many political upheavals by the summer of 3979. Zaius has somehow succeeded in quashing the negative effects caused by Taylor's speaking or learning abilities, but General Ursus, campaigning for war, is beyond controlling his rage. He sends out scouts looking for Taylor and several are lost in the void of the Forbidden Zone. This leaves Ursus even more angered. He insists Taylor will either find other speaking humans or create trouble by teaching mutes to talk, so the search is on. The apes are not alone in their disgust with the orangutans. There is also a quiet chimpanzee revolt brewing.
While only pretending that they are agreeing with Zaius and keeping quiet about Taylor, Cornelius and Zira have secretly been aiding Doctor Milo in his studies to repair Taylor's rescued spacecraft. He is almost done with it and is ready to attempt in putting it up for flight. They plan to use the ship to escape the total loss of truth that is becoming New Ape City. They feel apes must know man ruled first so that peace can be restored but realize it will never work out that way.
In one of the scouting quests for Taylor, the Gorillas uncovered an old military base that is fully equipped with jeeps, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, boats, radios, gas, oil and weapons to last several ground wars or years to come.
They implement them into society as a sturdier police force while Zaius officially agrees to move Ape City into the more modern remnants of New York City. It was found just miles from where they are now and will be called New Ape City. Here is where we see the apes discovering the marvels of radio, music, television and newsprint. The apes begin to live in an odd sort of 1970s life style within just 6 months of the transition. Even farm equipment has come into full use. The eagerness to rule the planet has the apes advancing rather rapidly.
In August of 3979, the U.S. astronauts launched in August of 1976 on a secret mission to explore the heavens for a potential second Earth, Bill Allen, Jeff Hudson and Judy Franklin crash land in a lagoon southwest of New Ape City. While traversing the desert, the female, Franklin disappears into a chasm that mysteriously closes in on itself.
Allen and Hudson continue on to find a forested glade inhabited by savage humans. In yet another raid by gorilla soldiers, Allen is captured along with several of the primitive humans. Some humans go to war games, some to experiment on, some are slaves, and some are in zoos.
Times have truly changed because of Taylor as the astronauts are taken to the new ape metropolis. It is here they encounter Cornelius, Zira, Nova and Urko who replaced Urso. Urko is a human hating, murderous gorilla. He only knows that humans mean war. Nova befriends Allen who notices she is curiously enough is now wearing Brent's ID tags. She put Taylor's tags on his horse in what she thought was a gesture no one would take it if they knew it was his. Being lost, she also hoped to find Brent to help her find Taylor, but she's given up. She is however trying harder than ever before to speak.
Bill's intelligence back in New Ape City raises eyebrows. Zira is reminded of Bright Eyes, her pet name for Taylor, so she calls Bill 'Blue Eyes.'
Shortly thereafter, he escapes with the caring scientists help and along with Hudson, returns to the Forbidden Zone for their ship to get their laser guns. In the lake where the ship has sunk, a sea serpent appears. A sign that mutation was not limited to merely humans. This lake is also nearly 100 miles from Ape City. Once the laser guns are retrieved, they destroy their ship to deter the apes.
They soon discover the buried ruins of New York and it's underground rivers. After reuniting with Franklin, and always narrowly escaping the apes or the mutants of the under city, the true adventures begin.
The apes, with the help of a Dr Likis, test fly a plane and decide to open a factory to make more. Zaius feels men were not supposed to fly and neither were apes. Before anything else is said or done, the astronauts somehow manage to steal one and destroy the factory. This plane is eventually used to gather supplies and scare off the ape army who get too close to the human fortress built by both the astronauts and human tribes.
Ron Brent was met up with and warned of the coming ape armies around this time. He joins the troupe and mentions that his father also was also an astronaut sent up in 1972 and wonders if they saw him. No one has. Ron is a healthy old man now. Assumes his father died a hero somehow. Nova is regularly sick and loses track of thought often. At times, bed ridden.
There are a few exciting trips in a hot air balloon to visit the high llama at Kaigor mountain with Cornelius. This is where the great ape Kaigor is said to protect the ape monks there. He is a Big Foot sort of creature that kills a flying mutant lizard/bird to protect the astronauts and apes during one visit. Curiously enough, the apes here are peaceful, know how to use skis and call an abandoned ski chalet their temple.
The astronauts spend another month fighting gorilla armies and being chased by Zaius who eventually grows very tired of the gorilla's failure to succeed. Gorillas back in the city have begun robbing homes at night in order to give the public appearance there is a need for martial law. The Lawgivers cannot take it any longer as Colonel Rotuk is put in command of the gorilla army.
The astronauts take the tribe of humans with them and migrate towards the south riding rafts down the Mississippi river to NASA. Cornelius and Zira go back to old Ape City where they put the final preparations on their plans to escape the planet of the apes.
Earthquakes, and storms are prevalent. Volcanoes begin wiping out much of the underground and he Mutants are now not only fearful of apes, humans and earth changes, they are now paranoid Armageddon is closing in. Somehow Nova gets lost from the migration south. She finds Taylor's horse wandering and ends up back near the Forbidden Zone.
Senior Brent, Ron Brent's father, whose ship was launched in November of 1972 lands near where Taylor's did. He is the only survivor. His Earth clocked stopped at 3955 but he actually arrived in September of 3979.
After he buries his Skipper, he encounters Nova, who just lost Bill, Jeff and Judy. She is totally confused and thinks Brent is Taylor. They go to what is left of old Ape City and after an encounter with Zira, and Cornelius, who think he is Taylor too at first.
Not sure what to make of everything, they do not mention the 3 most recent astronauts because they do not want involved. They are, after all, leaving in the space ship when it is ready. Besides, the lone apes that still support the former ape General are preparing a final search for Taylor, whom they feel started their problems and must be found to put the human issue to rest. Brent takes Nova and heads back to the Forbidden Zone.
Brent and Nova go into the subway underground where the Mutants using telekinesis to manipulate their thoughts toy with them. They are pitted against each other until they discover Taylor who was also a prisoner all this time. It is the Mutants agenda to get them to kill each other.
The mental manipulation is interrupted by an ape army who crash the Mutant's underground dwelling. It causes further turmoil. Nova is shot in the back. Taylor is shot in the shoulder. Commotion is rampant. While all of this is happening, Zira, Milo and Cornelius are secretly escaping the Planet of the Apes in Taylor's repaired craft. Brent is seen being shot directly between the eyes by an ape and dies on the spot.
As the apes try to pull down the Alpha-Omega missile from the Mutant's church, Taylor, who is mortally wounded by Ursus, reaches the Mutant's control panel and detonates the Doomsday Device. The bomb, originally stored in the vaults of a San Francisco missile complex was cherished by many generations of the House of Mendez. As it launches, it begins crashing down the ceiling and walls of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, which the Mutant temple is.
With the blast, a catalytic reaction spreads across the globe in minutes. Shockwaves of tremendous energy from the blast cascade into space and strike the spacecraft containing Doctors Milo, Cornelius and Zira. The ship is thrown by the force of the blast into a Hasslein Curve and cast back to April of 1973.