The Life and Times of Caesar, Planet of the Apes Leader of a New World Order

In the original film series, the life and times of Caesar first appear in the second sequel, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, as an infant chimpanzee, the only child of Zira and Cornelius. Caesar (born Milo) hardly knows his parents as they are killed just moments after his birth. He is subsequently raised by Armando as a circus chimpanzee to save him from the same people who murdered his mother and father. Like his parents, Caesar speaks and understands human language but is advised by Armando not to display such abilities in public because he is still technically a fugitive.

The next two sequels (Conquest and Battle) show Caesar leading an ape revolution in which he battles against humans, gorillas, and mutants for freedom and equality among the species. The original series concludes with a cease-fire between conflicting parties, but the ending hints there will be another clash in the future.

His history has been rewritten in the ongoing reboot series. The life and times of Caesar still revolve around the struggles of the ape society but the story brings along new backgrounds, characters, and developments, yet the same-old armed interspecies feuds. The reboot series begins in 2011 and thus far consists of three films, including Rise, Dawn, and War. Another title (Kingdom) is already in production and planned for a 2024 release.

Life And Times Of Caesar

Enhanced Intelligence

The refreshed history of Caesar is compiled in the 2018 book Planet of the Apes: Caesar’s Story, written by Greg Keyes. It chronicles the life of Caesar from his time as a lab ape to his death at the end of the War. Most of the stories are presented from the perspective of Maurice, an orangutan advisor and Caesar’s confidant. Accounts from other ape characters are also included as interludes.

During the climax of War for the Planet of the Apes, the apes discover a likely home to rebuild in peace far from humans. Caesar finally dies but not before Maurice promises to keep his memory alive and tell his heroic exploits to Cornelius, Caesar’s youngest son. The book is the manifestation of the promise. It retells the tale of the apes in the reboot series, in which Caesar is the central character. 

According to rewritten history, Caesar is the son of an alpha male chimpanzee (known in the franchise simply as Alpha) and a female nicknamed Bright Eyes. A pharmaceutical company, Gen-Sys, uses Bright Eyes as one of the subjects for an experimental Alzheimer’s drug test. She is already pregnant when a drug called ALZ-112 is administered. The drug increases the subject’s mental capabilities; in the case of Bright Eyes, the drug-induced boost of intelligence is naturally passed down to the infant in her womb. Soon after giving birth, the mother goes on a rampage to protect her child, but the company mistakenly sees the aggression as a side effect of the drug. Bright Eyes is shot and killed, leaving the infant chimp orphaned.

A sympathetic lab technician, Robert Franklin, rejects the company’s order to put down all the apes already administered with the experimental drug and gives the young chimpanzee to researcher Will Rodman. Although at first Rodman seems reluctant, he is glad to discover that the young chimp—whom he names Caesar—exhibits enhanced intelligence. 

Golden Gate Bridge Incident

Life And Times Of Caesar

Despite living happily with the Rodman family, Caesar understands that apes are not truly part of human society. In fact, he has to spend time in a human-controlled primate facility after attacking a neighbor who threatens Rodman’s father. It is the facility where he meets Maurice and discovers humans’ cruelty towards ape species. Determined to help other apes, Caesar escapes the facility to steal a batch of ALZ-113 (an airborne version of ALZ-112) from Rodman’s house. He releases a canister of the drug throughout the facility to enhance the intelligence of fellow apes and further improve his own.

A real turning point in Caesar’s life and the ape rebellion is marked by the battle on the Golden Gate Bridge. The apes plan to escape the city and build their own society in the Muir Woods, but the police have already set up a barricade on the bridge. It is the first direct armed conflict between humans and apes; a battle that establishes Caesar as a leader. The apes outmatch humans and manage to escape. They go on to create the Ape Village in the Muir Woods and are determined to set a New World Order, at least for themselves.

At the same time, the ALZ-113 is known to affect humans as well. The strain increases intelligence in apes, but the effects on humans are quite the opposite. An infected person loses the ability to speak and suffers from a decreased mental capacity. Also known as the Simian Flu, the virus carves the path for an ape revolution. 

Koba’s Rebellion

Life And Times Of Caesar

Simian Flu Pandemic triggers a breakdown in human society. About a decade after the battle on the Golden Gate Bridge, the virus and the ensuing chaos has killed more than 6 billion people. On the other hand, the ape society is flourishing in a new colony.

When some human survivors bump into the colony in desperation, Caesar allows them to access the hydroelectric generator to power the human settlement. Such a friendly gesture irritates Koba, who plans to kill humans as he sees them forever as enemies. Disobeying Caesar’s order to maintain peace with humans, Koba goes on to confront humans, killing several of them in the process; he also steals a rifle and shoots Caesar, sending the leader down into an abyss. Koba leaves the stolen gun and a human hat on a tree for another ape to discover, practically framing humans for Caesar’s death. Taking advantage of the confusion and vacuum of power, Koba assumes leadership and convinces the colony to wage war against humans. 

However, Caesar survives and knows that Koba is the shooter. Later on, the truth is revealed following Caesar’s safe return to the ape colony. A brutal hand-to-hand combat between Caesar and Koba is inevitable. Even after Koba’s death, the damage is already done. Apes and humans are now in an all-out war.

Forbidden Zone

Battles for survival are the major highlights of Caesar’s life. He spends the last days of his life leading the apes in the struggles against one of the remaining U.S. military forces under the command of Colonel McCullough. During a full-fledged frontal shoot-out between the two parties, Caesar puts himself in the humans’ crosshairs to ensure the colony’s escape and survival.

Despite being severely injured, Caesar is able to throw a hand grenade and destroy a human’s fuel tank. The explosion triggers an avalanche that wipes out the human settlement. Again, the apes escape the avalanche and find refuge in greenery surrounded by mountains. Caesar dies overseeing the place. In the official novelization of War for the Planet of the Apes, the newly found sanctuary curiously has a sign that reads “Forbidden Zone,” which establishes a connection with the original 1968 Planet of the Apes film.

Have you read the rebooted POTA books? Have you seen the rebooted movies? If so, tell us what you think of the new storyline. We’d love to hear from you.

Here are other things you might want to know about.

What is performance-capture acting?

According to performance-capture acting is a “complex technology that records the movement and facial expressions of human actors and then painstakingly renders them digitally to create fantastical characters like Caesar, Gollum, and King Kong.” Andy Serkis is famous for his amazing acting in Planet of the Apes, Lord of the Rings, and King Kong. Facial expressions and body language are important in performance-capture acting. Since 2011 the Academy and other groups have not considered performance-capture acting the same as any other kind of acting. Serkis explains that this type of acting creates emotion, pace, and drama like any actor does when receiving and studying the script for a movie. 

Go to and read ‘From Gollum to Caesar: Andy Serkis, the actor behind the ape.’ It was written by Tom Jamieson and was published in 2017. 

What is the Simian Flu Pandemic?

According to, the Simian Flu Pandemic was a “catastrophic flu outbreak that resulted in the near extinction of humanity and the evolution of all apes on Earth. The pandemic resulted from drug testing done a Gen-Sys Laboratories, a biotech company that sought to create a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.” This was the premise for the movie War of the Planet of the Apes. 

Go to to read this interesting article about the War of the Planet of the Apes and the turmoil between humans and apes. 

What are some of Woody Harrelson’s roles?

According to Woody Harrelson has had many memorable movie roles, including Planet of the Apes. Here are 10 of his most memorable ones. 

  1. Venom
  2. The Hunger Games
  3. War for the Planet of the Apes
  4. The People vs Larry Flynt
  5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  6. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  7. Natural Born Killers
  8. True Detective
  9. Cheers
  10. Zombieland

Go to to read more details about each of these Woody Harrelson roles. 

If you enjoyed this then try our other Planet of the Apes articles: