Last week I was on Slashfilm’s podcast and I mentioned that the Planet of the Apes cycle is my favorite science fiction film series. Everybody thought I was kidding.
I was not.
There is, for my money, no better science fiction film series than the original five Planet of the Apes movies (although to be honest the fifth, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, brings the batting average way down). I can’t think of a series that’s been more ballsy with its own continuity, that has gone so many different places and that has tackled so many issues dead on. Plus, it’s full of people in monkey suits.
The chronology of the Planet of the Apes films is complicated (the second film ends with the Earth blowing up, and the third begins with a trio of monkeys traveling back in time to 1973, for instance), and it only gets worse if you try to shoehorn in the TV series, the cartoon, the comic books and, if you’re really, really insane, the Tim Burton ‘re-imagining.’
Rich Handley is apparently really, really insane. He’s written Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Unauthorized Chronology, a massive book that tries to put every bit of Apes lore into order and make it all make sense. Here’s the breakdown on his book, from his website:
Planet of the Apes, created by French writer Pierre Boulle in his novel La planète des singes (“The Monkey Planet”), was crafted for the big screen by Rod Serling, Michael Wilson, Paul Dehn and others. In the series’ first outing, Heston’s Col. George Taylor found himself stranded in a madhouse of a future in which an oppressive ape civilization had inherited the Earth in the wake of mankind’s evolutionary and revolutionary downfall.
This classic post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama has riveted audiences with its stunning performances, brilliant make-up work, resonant soundtrack and powerful statements on humanity, science and religion, as well as the jaw-dropping revelation in its legendary final moments. But the 1968 film was just the beginning of the story.
Four sequels, two television series, a 2001 film re-make, and more than a dozen novels and 120 comic books later, Planet of the Apes remains a living, breathing universe that celebrates its 40th anniversary (and Blu-Ray release) this year. To help commemorate this landmark event, Hasslein Books announces the upcoming publication of Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology. This hefty volume will explore:
• How a small-scale simian rebellion grew, in so short a time, into a complete, planet-wide reversal of fates for humanity and apekind
• How the apes acquired the power of speech—while man was rendered mute
• Where the plague that ravaged the planet came from, and the effects it had not only on man and ape, but on other creatures as well
• The many unique ape and human cultures that spawned around the globe in the war’s aftermath—and how the Statue of Liberty ended up in pieces on a desolate beach
Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology explores these and other questions, presenting every recorded event of the Planet of the Apes saga in its proper chronological context—from long before Caesar’s birth to far beyond Earth’s destruction. This book covers every film, television episode, cartoon, novel, comic, short story and audio-tale produced under the Planet of the Apes banner over the past four decades—including a number of rejected or unpublished tales unavailable to fans. No other reference book has covered the expanded Apes saga so completely.
Along with a painstakingly detailed timeline spanning millennia, this volume features a gallery of more than 350 cover images, a recommended viewing/reading order, an examination of time travel in the Planet of the Apes mythos (both on screen and in print), and a title/creator index of published fiction—plus, insightful notes discussing preliminary and discarded story concepts, inconsistencies and discontinuities, unpublished lore and other fascinating trivia.
Awww shit! I’ll be buying this book for sure. Unless my brother, who brought this to my attention, buys it for me for my birthday first.
And this book has made me decide to do another series in the grand tradition of my Ten Days Of Thirteen: in honor of the 40th anniversary of The Planet of the Apes, I’ll be rewatching and reviewing all five Apes films, and I may even touch on some of the ancillary stuff if I have the stomach for it.
In the meantime, go to Handley’s site here to keep an eye out for a release date of this surely must-own tome.