Planet of the Apes movie viewing order and timeline explained | Films | Entertainment

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Since the Charlton Heston original, there has been 10 Planet of the Apes movies to date, with timelines more confusing than the X-Men movies. But do you really need to watch them all before the latest outing Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes hits cinemas this week?

If you’ve got the time, they’re all available on Disney+ but in terms of immediate narrative continuity, there are only three essential movies to watch first.

The original five Planet of the Apes movies with their own continuity are Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).

Then there’s the 2001 Tim Burton remake of Planet of the Apes, which is basically its own thing. But if you want to prepare for Kingdom, all you need to do is watch the reboot trilogy which has its own timeline: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), War for the Planet of the Apes (2017). Kingdom follows on from War, but the main difference is that the latest film is set 300 years later and is the start of a new trilogy in this same reboot timeline.

Here’s a wider explanation of the Planet of the Apes timelines for fans wanting a quick refresher.

Original Timeline

Planet of the Apes (1968) and Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

In 1973, four astronauts led by Charlton Heston’s George Taylor leave Earth and after traveling at light speed crash land on an unknown planet.

It turns out to be Earth in the late 40th Century AD long after nuclear war wiped out most humans, leaving apes to rise up in their place. The first two films take place in 3978 and 3979 and the sequel ends with Taylor detonating a bomb that destroys the entire planet. But then there’s more time travel creating an alternate timeline.

Alternate Caesar timeline

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Apes Cornelius, Zira and Dr Milo escape in one of the astronaut’s repaired spaceships, which takes them through a time vortex back to Earth in 1973.

The trio travel back in time in an attempt to undo the bomb destroying the planet at the end of the last movie. Adding to the drama, it turns out Zira is pregnant with Caesar who will grow up to lead an ape uprising.

This alternate timeline concludes with humans and apes living in harmony and Earth (which let’s not forget is the Planet of the Apes) not being destroyed.

Remake Timeline

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Tim Burton’s remake of the 1968 original movie is its own thing with its own twist ending that’s different to the famous Statue of Liberty reveal.

Reboot Timeline Part 1

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Rebooting the franchise in 2011, this timeline begins in our near future with a scientist developing a drug to cure Alzheimer’s, that increases ape intelligence during the animal testing phase. During the events of Rise, a newspaper hints at missing astronauts. Presumably, these are ones who will return to Earth hundreds of years in the future. Meanwhile, a flu virus is created that simultaneously wipes out most of the Earth’s human population while increasing ape intelligence.

In the post-apocalyptic world of the next 10 years, the last remaining humans battle the intelligent apes led by Caesar during the events of Dawn and War. The latter concludes with the death of Caesar after he leads his people to their promised land and new settlement.



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