"Deception on the Planet of the Apes"

The following is a plot summary for an imaginary sequel to the 1973 film Battle for the Planet of the Apes. This story is designed to help tighten the gap between the fifth movie in the Ape series (Battle) and the first two films which are set in the distant future.

This imaginary sixth film picks up where the epilogue of Battle leaves off - with the Lawgiver preaching to a group of ape and human children in the year 2670. Here, the Lawgiver reveals that he is a direct descendant of Virgil the Orangutan who had been Caesar's best friend and adviser. Apparently, Virgil became the heir to Caesar's throne after Caesar's only son was murdered by General Aldo. This, of course, explains why the orangutans, and not the chimpanzees, are now the primary political and religious leaders of the Ape society.

The Lawgiver than introduces the children to his nephew, Iago, who will one day inherit the Lawgiver's position of authority. When the children ask why the Lawgiver has no children himself, a direct answer is avoided but there are implications that he is gay.

Although the Lawgiver dreams of a future in which apes and humans live in total peace, Iago has secretly aligned himself with a corrupt faction of gorillas who want to re-enslave or completely exterminate all humans. The leader of this group, Colonel Claudius, is a gorilla who claims to be descended from Aldo's children who were orphaned after Caesar killed him.

[Production Note: Iago and Claudius are named after Shakespearean villains: Iago is from Othello and Claudius is from Hamlet.]

When the Lawgiver learns of his nephew's alliance with Aldo's human-hating descendants, he naturally plans to find an alternate successor. Unfortunately, before he can do so, Iago arranges to have Claudius and the other gorillas kill him and make it look like a group of humans did it. The framed humans, who are descended from the MacDonald brothers, are then quickly arrested and executed after being found guilty in a mock trial.

With his uncle out of the way, Iago then takes over the Ape society in a dictator-like fashion and begins his mission against the humans. Part of his plan involves destroying all historical records that refer to Caesar and his futuristic parents, Zira and Cornelius. These records are then replaced with new ones which claim that the Ape revolution actually occurred over the course of 500 years instead of in the late 20th century. The reason for altering these records is so that nobody would be able to acknowledge that apes and humans once lived in peace under the reign of Caesar and Virgil.

At the insistence of Colonel Claudius, who has now been promoted to General, Iago also alters the history of General Aldo, changing him from the villainous first ape who killed another ape to the heroic first ape who said "no" to a human. [These new and altered documents are obviously the ones that Cornelius eventually gained access to and quoted from in Escape from the Planet of the Apes]. In addition to forging a new Ape history, Iago also forges several anti-human writings which he claims were written by his Lawgiver uncle shortly before his murder. [These are the documents that Dr. Zaius carried in his pocket in the original film].

After a time, the majority of the apes, with the exception of a few chimpanzees, come to believe Iago's claims. This is largely because they've grown convinced that time-travel is not possible, which would mean that Caesar and his futuristic parents were but mythical figures. Thus, with their rewritten history and other anti-human writings now accepted as the "real truth," the apes now begin to suppress the human population. Most humans are then forced to flee into the wilderness, and the remainder are forced to become slaves (or science experiments) for the apes. Meanwhile, the statue of Caesar is torn down and a new statue depicting the Lawgiver is erected in its place.

Since the humans who escaped clearly had help from the sympathetic chimpanzees, rumours of a possible retaliation by the chimps soon begin to circulate. When Iago hears these rumours, he naturally starts a campaign to reduce and restrict the levels of power and influence that chimpanzees can hold in ape society. This results in the remaining chimpanzee priests and politicians being ousted from their positions on ridiculous charges. Originally, General Claudius is promised that these positions would be divided equally between the gorillas and orangutans. But when Iago starts assigning all the positions to orangutans only, Claudius becomes very confrontational, demanding an explanation.

That night, Iago invites Claudius to his home for a drink where he promises to answer all questions. Iago begins their meeting by recalling the story which the Lawgiver had been telling the children in the previous film. Here, he states that this story was a heavily distorted and fictionalized account of what really happened in the years following Caesar's "conquest" of the planet. The real history is known only among a small band of orangutans and goes as follows:

First of all, most apes were just barely learning to talk during the reign of Caesar, and the only ones who were as articulate as him were the children he had with Lisa. It wasn't until a couple generations later that the other apes evolved to the same level of intelligence. It was during this later generation that Virgil and Aldo lived and served as personal assistants to the Royal Family of Caesar's descendants. (Aldo, however, was named after an ancestor who actually did aid and serve the original Caesar during the "conquest").

The only part of the Lawgiver's story that was based on fact was the part where Virgil went to the Forbidden City. The difference of course is that Virgil went with a couple of Caesar's descendants (and not Caesar himself) and that they were escorted by the great-grandson (and not the brother) of the original MacDonald.

The other difference is that when Virgil and the others arrived and found the footage of Caesar's parents, they heard the part where the parents spoke about Aldo. This caused the Royal Family to feel threatened by Aldo's rise in popularity among the apes, which in turn allowed Virgil to recognize a power-grabbing opportunity for himself. Shortly thereafter, Virgil killed all the heirs to Caesar's throne and planted evidence which implicated Aldo as the true culprit. Aldo was then thrown to his death by an angry mob before the truth could be revealed. Thus, the dynasty of the Chimpanzees came to an end and a new Orangutan-dynasty founded by Virgil was begun.

[Note: As viewers may recall, Zira and Cornelius did actually mention Aldo in Escape; but when Caesar found the recording in Battle, this portion of their dialogue was changed so that Aldo was never mentioned. Hence, Iago appears to be correct in stating that the Lawgiver's story was indeed a distortion of the facts. This also confirms that the images seen in Battle were not images of what really happened, but were merely images of the Lawgiver's fictionalized version].

After recalling this story, Iago states that he had planned from the start to give total authority to the orangutans and that he had just been using Claudius and the other gorillas all along. And now that Claudius is no longer needed, Iago plans to eliminate him just as Virgil eliminated Aldo. Claudius then keels over and collapses as Iago reveals that the drink he just served his guest was poison. As a consolation though, Iago promises the dying gorilla that the campaign against the humans will continue and that Aldo's new "hero" status in written history will remain unchanged and preserved – that is, of course, until it no longer serves any practical purpose.

Iago's orangutan-henchmen are then ordered to disposal of Claudius's body. As they transport the corpse into the woods for burial, they secretly plot their own assassination of Iago so they can assume power for themselves.

In the epilogue segment, a colony of fled humans now lives in a desolate area with their clothes quickly deteriorating and with no access to tools or educational materials. Many of the children have also been so traumatised by these events that they've become catatonic. This leaves the older humans fearing that if they are forced to continue living like this, their future generations will not only be illiterate and uneducated, but may also eventually devolve into speechless savages.

Meanwhile, a small group of still-intelligent human mutants who have been spying on the apes this whole time, return to their hidden underground city in the Forbidden Zone and report what Iago has done to the humans who still live above. As the mutant leaders decide to bury themselves further below for extra security, their obsession with their doomsday bomb increases and evolves into full worship. For they realise that the bomb is their only means of protection against a possible (and probably inevitable) invasion by the apes.