In 1992, Peter Jackson was invited to write (with partner Fran Walsh) and direct a sixth entry in the classic Planet of the Apes film series . . .

Unlike Tim Burton’s 2001 “re-imagining” and various other proposed remakes by Adam Rifkin, Terry Hayes and Sam Hamm, the Jackson-Walsh script would have followed up on the last big screen Planet of the Apes movie to have been made, namely Battle for the Planet of the Apes way back in 1973.

Hayes, Rifkin and Hamm would have rebooted the series and the Hayes and Hamm projects would have involved Oliver Stone as executive producer and Arnold Schwarzenegger as lead actor. (Several of these unused scripts are available online.)

In Jackson’s sequel an artistic ape renaissance makes Earth’s oppressive simian government nervous. (The film would have featured Roddy McDowall as a grey-haired chimp artist modeled after Leonardo da Vinci.) A human revolt adds to the council’s difficulties, as does the existence of a half-human, half-ape hybrid, sheltered by a group of liberal apes from the gorillas trying to hunt it down.

However this project never came to pass, due to a change in 20th Century Fox management, and to the writers’ discomfort with Fox’s decision to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead and hire James Cameron as producer. (In 1998, Coming Attractions posted a sequel outline reported to have been Cameron’s, but this is believed to have been a hoax.) As documented in Brian Sibley’s authorized biography, Peter Jackson: A Film-Maker’s Journey, the duo opted to leave the project, knowing with such big names attached, Jackson would have had little control over the final product.

"Roddy McDowall as a grey-haired chimp artist based on Leonardo da Vinci!"

Since Jackson gave up on his plans for a Planet of the Apes sequel, there were quite a few aborted efforts to come: Return of the Apes (1996, script by Road Warrior scribe Terry Hayes, to be directed by Philip Noyce); Return to the Planet of the Apes (1998, script by Adam Rifkin based on a story by Cassian Elwes and Adam Rifkin who was supposed to have directed as well); Planet of the Apes (1998 with Batman Returns writer Sam Hamm as screenwriter and Chris Columbus as director); and a 1998 Planet of the Apes to be directed by James Cameron himself.

(They needn’t feel alone though: even Bridge on the River Kwai author Pierre Boulle whose book Monkey Planet was the inspiration for the original Planet of the Apes movie wrote a script for a second film called Planet of the Men. It was never used.)

Director Tim Burton finally remade Planet of the Apes in 2001. It was not well received by fans or critics, but there’s no keeping a good franchise down: Caesar, initially titled Planet of the Apes: Genesis, was first announced in August 2008, to be directed by Scott Frank and produced by Richard Zanuk and Ralph Winter. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver were originally announced as writers, though Frank was later revealed to be writing as well as directing. The title was also changed, first to Genesis: Apes, then to Caesar. This film will be unrelated to the previous Planet of the Apes movies.

- James O'Ehley, with assistance by Rich Handley

This is an edited excerpt from Timeline of the Planet of the Apes – The Definitive Unauthorized Chronology by Rich Handley. A comprehensive labor of love, this source-work attempts to hammer the events from ALL the Planet of the Apes movies, comics, TV shows and books into chronological order. How definitive is it? Author Handley even throws in  unpublished book and comic book plots into the mix as well as unproduced movie scripts! If your idea of a good weekend is to dust off your Planet of the Apes box set and settle in front of the television set with a bunch of bananas, then this book is for you. Buy it today!

COMPETITION:  . . . or don't. We're giving away some free copies of this book. All you have to do is e-mail our webmaster at with "Planet of the Apes" in the subject line. Yup, that's all you have to do. (Sorry, the giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.) 



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