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Going Ape and Never Coming Back: Over 50 Years of ‘Planet of the Apes’ With More on the Way

If you were a wee lad of eight when the original Planet of the Apes was released in 1968, there’s no way you would have expected to still be thinking about it in 2019 at a slightly less wee age (figure it out; we’re not running a math class here). Unless, you were obsessed with this classic movie and its sequels — then it’s no surprise at all. Of course, fueling the ongoing obsession is that the concept was reborn in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, continued in 2014 with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and concluded in 2017 with War for the Planet of the Apes, with more on the way as promised by Disney‘s Bob Iger in the aftermath of the Mouse House’s purchase of 20th Century Fox.

The original idea feels like it could have come out of The Twilight Zone (and if you’re not familiar with that show, find it … right after you finish this article). An astronaut (Charlton Heston) arrives on an alien-looking planet, comes across savage humans and muses to his astronauts that if this is the best the planet has to offer, they’ll be running the place in six months. A solid aspiration, if it weren’t for the damn apes … on horseback and armed with rifles.

It’s a moment that shocked audiences (personal musing: how shocked could they really have been if they bought a ticket for a movie called Planet of the Apes?) — though not as much as the film’s stunning ending, which remains mind-blowing to this day — and launched into an adventure that would continue in some form or another for over 50 years, encompassing nine films and two television series (one live action, one animated).

What follows is Closer Weekly‘s look back at the entire Apes saga, from Planet to War and everything in between.

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