This Villain was Headlined on October, 2014.
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|“||Caesar gone… Apes follow Koba now!||„|
|~ Koba after killing the defiant Ash for expressing remaining loyalty to the "dead" Caesar.|
|“||Sleep. You cannot save them. Apes all die here.||„|
|~ Koba appears to Caesar as a hallucination, taunting his friend-turned-enemy on his apparent failures to save the ape colony.|
Koba is the main antagonist of the Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy.
He is a supporting character in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the main antagonist of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and the posthumous overarching antagonist of War for the Planet of the Apes. He is an aggressive, dangerous, vengeful, and violent Bonobo ape who is considered to be an evil counterpart to the main protagonist Caesar, whom he formerly respected. He was formerly the right-hand advisor and brother-in-arms-turned-archenemy of Caesar.
Harboring a vendetta against humanity for torturing him in the past, he betrays his former friend and ultimately plots to eradicate mankind, with or without the support of his fellow apes; going far enough to endanger the ape colony altogether.
While initially a tragic character and a compassionate friend towards Caesar, over time Koba's misanthropy corrupted him, turning him into little more than a hypocritical tyrant.
In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he was voiced and portrayed by Christopher Gordon in motion capture. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes, he was voiced and portrayed by Toby Kebbell in motion capture, who also played Doctor Doom in Fant4stic and Drake Stone in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Koba was a large, muscular male Bonobo ape who had grizzled, greying black fur that had several small patches missing. He tended to walk with a hunched-back, even when walking upright.
Koba had several noticeable scars, most notably a long, jagged gash that ran from his left forehead, through his eye, which was blind and milky white, and into his cheek. He had a second scar on his right forearm that ran from his wrist to his elbow, and a third scar that marred the left side of his neck. He also had a couple of notches in his right ear.
Koba's one good eye was originally brown, but after being exposed to ALZ-113, it turned green.
|“||[In sign language] From humans...Koba learned hate (hatred)...but nothing else.||„|
|~ Caesar describes the dreadful past Koba suffered.|
Koba is best described as a short-tempered, manipulative, treacherous, vindictive, violent, and selfish ape who showed signs of cunning and great intelligence, due to the effects of the ALZ-113 virus, as he plots to fool the apes into believing that humans killed Caesar. When in power, he was a downright controlling tyrant, killing and imprisoning even his own kind just to show dominance. He was extremely aggressive and wrathful, resorting quickly to violence, screaming whilst massacring the human soldiers in battle, and roaring with rage whilst fighting Caesar.
Koba also showed extreme bravery, often charging head-first into a fight even if the odds were against him, being bold enough to attack a huge grizzly bear, and challenging Caesar throughout the film. He was also very arrogant and pretentious, scorning Caesar to his face, going so far as to label him as weak and unfit to rule as king because of his compassion and sympathy for humans, and also saying that he fought to free the Apes, when he actually fought for himself. He was also overconfident and egotistical to the point of hypocrisy, in that when he had his life in Caesar's hands at the end of the film, he reminded Caesar of the "Ape not kill Ape" rule, completely ignoring and disregarding the fact that he had killed apes himself. Koba was kind of a social Darwinist, seeing compassion and mercy towards humans as weak and violence as strength.
However, before turning on Caesar and becoming the main antagonist, Koba also showed redeemable qualities such as compassion, caring, and respect towards his fellow apes such as Caesar and Blue Eyes. Then, he acted as a brother to Caesar and a mentor to Blue Eyes, to a point when he was willing to put himself in harm's way for them. A prime example is when he stabbed a bear to save them. Another example is telling Blue Eyes that his scars make him strong. Along with this, even though he was willing to sacrifice other apes, he still did not sink low enough to sacrifice the women and children apes, only bringing along the males and having the young stay with the females in the woods. However, Koba's sheer hatred for humans ultimately proved too great, and whatever feelings of friendship and loyalty he had, died when he shot Caesar. This is stemmed from the fact that Koba was cruelly experimented on by human scientists, to the point where he was against humans to the point of total monomania. Because of that, Koba was also paranoid, thinking humans wanted to harm the apes at the den and showed no guilt or remorse in wanting to hurt or kill them, no matter their actions, such as with his scenes with Will Rodman, Alexander, and Malcolm. Koba sees all humans as nothing but pests and/or threats and desires for all of them to suffer just as he did.
During the course of Dawn, Koba begins to show an alarming lack of empathy, and it is not until the end that it becomes clear that Koba is a psychopathic warmonger who was desperate for war against the humans and would kill anybody in the way, ape or human. Psychopathy is evident in Koba via traits such as a lack of remorse or empathy, egomania, lack of inhibition, violent tendencies, etc. Koba showed also signs of sadism, such as smirking after killing the two guards he tricked, laughing manically when gunning down the humans protecting the colony home, and later enjoying seeing helpless humans imprisoned.
While Koba claims that he only fought for apes, he shows a complete lack of concern for his fellow species which was shown when he interacted a rivalry against Caesar, manipulated Blue Eyes into believing that the humans killed Caesar, coldly killed Ash simply because he defied his orders, moved a piece of debris trapping another ape who happened to be his top lieutenant, only to retrieve the gun and began firing wildly to fight with Caesar and the other apes, which led to him killing another ape and injuring Maurice in the process. He was also willing to put other apes out of the way or use the tools other apes were using, such as when he knocked an ape off of his horse when Koba wanted it, and when he took the guns of fellow apes whenever he wanted more.
When Koba ended up hanging on the edge for his dear life, he resorted to begging as seen when he pleaded to Caesar to save him despite having only just attempted to kill him and killing many apes in the process. He tried to (ironically and unsuccessfully) use the "Ape not kill Ape law" to his advantage but was surprised that his actions hardened Caesar enough to both disregard the law and disown him as an ape.
Overall, while it is true that in the past Koba suffered too much at the hands of humans who experimented with him in cruel and painful ways for many years, he is far past his tragedy because the actions he committed were extremely heinous, as he not only ended up murdering many humans (most of which had nothing to do with the abuse he suffered) but ended up betraying his best friend Caesar and the ape colony, as well as killing many apes along the way. In the end, Koba became a vindictive and hateful monster with no redeeming qualities far worse than Steven Jacobs, as well as every other villain/antagonist in the trilogy. Furthermore, what makes his betrayal of Caesar even worse is the fact that Caesar saved him from the Gen-Sys lab where he was experimented on and gave him a caring and providing life for 10 years.
Powers and Abilities
Koba was an exceptionally skilled and powerful fighter; this is shown during the battle on the Golden Gate Bridge, in which the scarred bonobo overpowered several police officers with ease, even throwing one clean off his feet with just one hand. He possessed immense brute strength, capable of using heavy objects as melee weapons. He was also quite cunning, deceptive, and intelligent, even before being exposed to the ALZ-113, silently plotting to kill Jacobs by acting docile with his handlers.
In the second film, set about a decade later, Koba seems to have become even more formidable despite his advanced age. He beats ape hater Carver to death and takes over a man-driven tank, both times with just his bare hands and without any difficulty. He could also ride a horse with incredible ease, even while he was carrying a spear or dual-wielding machine guns.
Koba was also able to hold his own against Caesar on two separate occasions, which is quite impressive considering that Caesar was not only younger than him, but also a chimpanzee, which are inherently stronger than bonobos like Koba. Despite being overpowered relatively easily in their brief brawl on the dam, he initially dominated their duel on the ruined human tower in San Francisco, putting up an extremely fierce fight against his former friend. Koba mainly relied on his own fury and brute strength to win him the fight, meaning he did not use strategy or cunning the way Caesar did; this being his downfall at the climax of their fight. In combat, Koba was extremely lethal but not flawless, especially since he could let his rage overwhelm him and an opponent with analytical or tactical skills could eventually beat him. As a result, he was ultimately defeated and thrown to his doom by Caesar.
Koba was highly proficient with spears and guns, and was also a skilled manipulator, being able to manipulate Blue Eyes, frame the humans for Caesar's death, and take over the ape tribe all in a matter of minutes only.
- Animal Strength: Koba was very powerful and strong; this was displayed when he beat ape-hater Carver to death in the dead of night, and when he took over a man-driven infantry fighting vehicle, both times with just his bare hands and without any difficulty. He also dragged Ash, an almost full-grown chimpanzee, up a flight of stairs and then threw off a balcony, with little effort. However, Koba's strength was ultimately inferior to Caesar's, but it was more a question of biology; chimpamzes are usually stronger than bonobos.
- High-Level Intellect: Even before he was exposed to the ALZ-113, Koba had some level of intelligence, as he silently planned to kill Jacobs by acting docile with his handlers. After he was exposed to the ALZ-113 at Gen-Sys Laboratories by Will - and his team - who tested it on him, he became much more intelligent than before, though it was unknown how much his advanced intelligence and IQ had increased. Despite his intellect, he is very arrogant, making him irrational enough to blame all humans who never harmed him before, and foolish enough to think Ceaser would let him live after he tried to kill him and killing innocent humans and other apes after claiming he's fighting for apes when he's truly only doing this for himself, which led to his downfall and death.
- Expert Hand-To-Hand Combatant: Despite his advanced age, Koba was an exceptionally skilled hand-to-hand combatant; near the climax of the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge, the scarred bonobo proved himself to be a capable close-range fighter, being able to grab and throw a police officer with great ease. He was also capable of holding his own against the much younger Caesar. While in their first brief, but brutal, brawl, Caesar defeated him easily, the second fight was a long, ferocious duel, which Koba initially dominated, putting up an extremely savage offensive against Caesar (who was still recovering from his wounds). However, despite being a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant in his own right, Koba's combat skills were ultimately inferior to Caesar's; the bonobo was forced to resort to using an iron bar as a weapon against his former friend when he found that hand-to-hand combat was not enough to overpower him. Even then, he ultimately was outmatched, Caesar wounding him with a cut on his abdomen that he exploited to force Koba onto the defensive
- Skilled Marksmanship: Despite having never used a gun before, Koba was surprisingly proficient in the use of firearms. During the assault on the human settlement in San Francisco, he used both an M4A1 with an ACOG scope and an M249-SAW.
- Expert Horse Rider: Koba was able to ride a horse with incredible ease, even when carrying a spear or dual-wielding machine guns.
- Sign Language: Like Caesar, Koba knew American Sign Language and used it as a means of communication. Koba was taught sign language by his human caregiver Mary, though it is unknown how skilled he was before being exposed to the ALZ-113. What is known is that he exceeded his handlers' expectations, being recognized as one of the leading apes in the facility.
- Speech: After being exposed to the ALZ-113, Koba had gained the ability to speak, shown when he yelled at the humans in the woods and verbally berated Caesar for his tolerance of humans. His speech (like Caesar's) was near complete, as he was able to tell the humans that he had captured they would be exposed to the torment he had faced and also spoke out against Caesar on numerous occasions.
- Expert Leader: Like Caesar, Koba was a natural leader, as he was able to take control over the scared ape population in a matter of seconds and successfully lead them to victory; despite the many deaths of his army. He also rallied enough support that Apes (like Red) still followed his methods after his death.
- Expert Tactician: Like Caesar, Koba was a brilliant tactician; he was a brilliant orator and could rally whole hordes of delusional and angry apes in a crisis that he (ironically) started. Combining oratory skills, brutality, and propaganda, Koba was a deadly enemy on the battlefield. He used such to temporarily become the alpha of the San Francisco Ape Colony, though he ultimately lost such when Caesar challenged him.
The non-canon novel Firestorm goes into more detail on Koba's past. Koba was born and raised in a primate research facility. He was taught sign language and was very close to his mother and their caregiver Mary. Like many sign language apes, Koba did not understand that apes who didn't use sign language were like him, and he also wasn't taught what the word "chimp" meant. As a result, Koba regarded non-signing apes as "big black caterpillars", and identified himself with humans.
One day, Mary had a kind assistant handler, Kuo, who left the facility for unknown reasons and was replaced by an abusive, alcoholic man named Roger. Due to being unfamiliar and uncomfortable with Roger's rough handling methods, Koba disobeyed him without even meaning to, causing Roger to physically and verbally assault the little bonobo in a drunken rage. When Koba's mother attacked Roger to defend her son, Roger retaliated by beating him to death with a sack of oranges. As a result of this incident, funding for the program Koba was involved in was cut, and he was sent off to a new home, which Mary promised would be good.
Koba was sold to a TV studio under the care of the abusive Tommy. There, Koba lived with another ape named Milo who also knew sign language and became friends with him, although they were never as close as Koba was to his mother. Tommy was the producer of a comedy show entitled Monkey of the House, and frequently forced the two apes to do tricks, electrocuting or beating them if they failed or disobeyed. When Milo bit an unruly child in self-defense, Tommy punished the chimp by wiring his mouth shut, which greatly disturbed Koba.
Tommy's show was eventually canceled due to poor ratings and outrage about Milo biting the child. Turning to drink, Tommy began to take his anger out on the two apes. When Koba finally tried to defend himself, Tommy slashed the bonobo's face with a knife, scarring his left forehead, eye, and cheek. However, the knife wound failed to blind Koba's left eye, so Tommy burned and blinded it with a lit cigarette. Tommy eventually killed himself and the two apes attempted to escape his home, only to be captured and separated by animal control officers.
Koba was then sent to a laboratory, where he was subjected to painful experiments and otherwise kept in complete isolation. As a result of boredom, loneliness, and the trauma of the experiments, Koba developed self-harming behaviors such as pulling out his fur and injuring his knuckles while signing them against the floor of his cage.
- "Koba" was a nickname for Joseph Stalin before the Russian Revolution. Koba is also based on Stalin as both used to be one of the trusted right hands during a revolution before betraying them for power by overthrowing their superiors, taking over their leadership and ruling with an iron fist.
- Ironically, Koba is killed in almost the same way that he killed Steven Jacobs in the first film.
- His relationship with Caesar is a direct mirror of the relationship between Caesar from the original movie series and his leading military commander, General Aldo and like General Aldo both are apes who betray their "Caesar" for leadership of the apes, both desire the use of guns, both plan to exterminate humans, both killed an ape and eventually both battled their "Caesar" until they fell to their deaths by the hands of their "Caesar".
- When Rupert Wyatt was asked that if Koba would be the main antagonist, he stated "There's so much we can do. Whereas the story of the first film plays out as a fairytale, the next film will play out as a Shakespearean sci-fi drama where you'll have Caesar as the leader of this revolution, but Koba would be the one leading his own troops wanting to wipe out humans in a genocide. But Caesar is more conflicted, and maybe Caesar needs Koba's assistance in terms of the conflict. And Maurice is his advisor and he's telling him to combine forces. Caesar needs the allegiance of the two, although he doesn't believe in what Koba believes in, which is complete genocide." Interestingly enough, Koba ended up being the main antagonist in the end.
- Perhaps coincidentally, the Niokolo Koba National Park is a Unesco World Heritage site and the only protected area in Senegal known to have wild chimpanzees.
- An earlier version of the script gave Koba's official Gen-Sys designation as "Nanotherapy, beta version: Male Test Subject #11". The same script emphasized Koba's sinister nature, with the lab assistants noting that "some are born rotten". Before their revolt, Caesar and Rocket escaped from their facility and broke into the lab in search of Caesar's mother. In return for a bracelet, Rocket freed Koba, who then killed Robert Franklin before returning to his cage, effectively framing Caesar. After the revolt, Koba lingered behind the ape army, infecting Steven Jacobs with the fatal virus and following across the bridge after the path had already been cleared. A deleted scene on the Blu-ray disc of Rise of the Planet of the Apes showed Jacobs being given the ALZ-113 by the devious and vengeful Koba.
- In another deleted scene on the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film, Koba finds a shotgun in the woods at the film's climax and learns how to use it by aiming at the screen and firing; this foreshadows his habit of using guns in the sequel.
- Toby Kebbell stated interest in playing Koba again in War for the Planet of the Apes, greatly implying Koba had survived. If he did return, he will likely be a secondary antagonist, but producer Dylan Clark has confirmed that Koba was in fact dead. However, Koba does appear in War, where he only made two cameo appearances in Caesar's hallucinations.
- Koba is the third villain in the whole franchise, who appeared in two movies. First villain: Dr. Zaius: Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes; second villain: Kolp: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes; third villain: Koba: Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
- In the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Official Movie Novelization, Koba wields a harpoon instead of a spear and is referred to as "One-Eye" in the humans' point of view. Also, his other two scars are on his head and back instead of on his arm and neck like in the movie.
- In the novelization of War, Koba is incorrectly described as a chimpanzee and his facial scar is on his right eye instead of his left.
- Koba is the first and only known bonobo to appear in a Planet of the Apes film.
- Koba's aggressive and violent behavior is unusual for bonobos as they usually resolve conflicts with complex sexual behaviors rather than with violence and aggression like their chimpanzee cousins.
- In spite of this, Koba looks little like a typical bonobo. Bonobos have longer legs, a less stocky body, and a darker face than chimps. Koba, however, appears only to have a darker face. His legs and body seem to be the same as that of the other chimpanzees who appear in the film.
- This also explains why he stands less than Caesar in term of raw strength. Bonobos are not built for fights because of their peaceful nature.
- Despite being completely evil without redeeming qualities, WatchMojo rated Koba rather in a sympathetic light. The site made him its #5 for Top 10 sympathetic movie villains, #8 for Top 10 characters with tragic backstories, and #2 for Top 10 movie villains who had justifiable motives.
- Koba can be considered a foil to Caesar as both have a grudge against humanity for their cruelty toward apes. However, while Cesar was lovingly raised by humans before being forced to see how some humans are monstrous, but there are good ones, tries not to kill when he can, and cares for his kind. Koba was abusively raised by humans before being cruelly experimented on by them causing him to view all of them as scum has a desire to kill all of them without any regard for how it affects his kind. If Caesar was raised under Koba's way of viewing humanity and never was hooked to compassion, forgiveness, and care, he would've ended up like Koba.
- Despite being classified as Pure Evil, Koba was actually intended to be a Tragic Villain by the film makers.
- Despite Koba's insidious actions, his fall from grace is also apparently considered tragic in the book Caesar's Tale, in which Maurice states that the events that transpired in Dawn; the humans' return, Caesar's collaboration with them, and Koba's brutal beating and humiliation by Caesar in front of the apes and Malcom's group, shattered his long-damaged soul. Maurice believes that if none of that had happened, Koba's damaged soul might've stayed merely injured and thus he wouldn't have gone down the dark path he took, and he would have instead eventually died of old age as a loved and respected member of the ape colony.
- The way Koba asks to be forgiven by Caesar by extending his arm is accurate to the real world because this is how chimpanzees submit to others.
La Planète des Singes
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes