Bad Ape And Other Ape Colonies Explained
It had been assumed, at least unspoken, by the audience and characters that Caesar's band were the only apes around, a point Maurice explicitly makes in War. All the action has focused on the original group that broke out in Rise and their presumed descendants, with Dawn and War indicating they're a tribe of similar uniqueness as Gary Oldman's survivors or Woody Harrelson's soldiers. The natural progression of this was that the inhabitants of the future "Planet" were all the descendants of these original evolutions.
However, War reveals that to be untrue. As well as spreading through humans at an alarming rate, even in a viral form the Simian Flu still had a similar impact on apes of all description, giving them increased cognitive function. However, without the leadership of Caesar, who had been raised in a loving, human environment, their mental growth was stunted. Coming mainly from zoos and labs, their life experiences and language was dominated by those industries and aggressive treatment.
This is where we get to Bad Ape. Steve Zahn's eccentric chimpanzee started life as an exhibit in the Sierra Safari Zoo in Nevada when the Simian Flu hit. Adopting the term by which his handlers would use against him as his name, Bad Ape narrowly escaped containment when the sick and desperate humans began killing off all the chimps, in reaction to the Simian source of the disease and possibly the fear of Caesar's rebellion. He ran and eventually found himself on the West Coast, where he hid out scavenging what he could.
We now have several tiers of intelligent ape. There's Bright Eyes the original subject, her even more intelligent son Caesar, then Koba directly treated by ALZ-113, and the rest of the group who were given an unclear dosage, and finally this massive new set of apes who've come from the flu spread. We don't know what the true end game of this timeline is - although it's long been assumed we won't end up at the 1968 movie - but there's an inherent social class structure here that would be a very fitting parallel and definitely feels like where we'd be heading next.
This was alluded to in the lead-up to release when Matt Reeves stated that Bad Ape was the future of the franchise. At the time it felt he was meaning Zahn himself was an essential character, but in light of the mythology addition it's more what he represents and where that leads the series. The future is the expansion of Caesar's now safe community into the discovery of these other pockets of apes and the conflict and growth that comes with that. On a more immediate note, putting Caesar's group as the trendsetters, though, is the payoff to the legend of the first ape to say "no" from the original Planet of the Apes, while the hints of conflict suggest we'll be seeing the race parallels that defined the future Earth so much (Chimpanzees, Gorillas and Organg-utans did not get on) come to life.
Wherever Planet of the Apes is going from Caesar's death is unknown at this point, but through the three-movie Simian Flu arc, and especially how War diversifies it, it's safe to say Reeves has put all the pieces in play for true monkey rule to rise.
- War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) release date: Jul 14, 2017