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|“||Apes follow Koba now.||„|
|~ Koba addressing himself as the new leader of the ape colony following Caesar's "demise".|
Koba is a major antagonist in the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise, starting off as a major protagonist/anti-hero in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, later, one of the main antagonists (alongside Dreyfus) of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and a posthumous antagonist in War for the Planet of the Apes. He is an aggressive, dangerous, vengeful and violent Bonobo ape who is considered to be a dark counterpart to the protagonist, Caesar, whom he initially respected.
He was formerly the friend, right-hand adviser and brother-in-arms-turned-archenemy of Caesar, as he betrayed him upon harboring a vendetta against humanity for tormenting him in the past for the advancement of science and ultimately plots to wipe them out with or without the support of his fellow brethren; thus going as far enough to endanger the ape colony altogether.
In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he was portrayed by Christopher Gordon in motion capture, and later by Toby Kebbell in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes (who also played Doctor Doom in Fant4stic and Drake Stone in The Sorcerer's Apprentice).
|“||(In sign language) "From humans...Koba learned hate...but nothing else."||„|
|~ Caesar describing Koba's dreadful past.|
Koba is best described as a short-tempered, manipulative, treacherous, vindictive and vengeful ape who showed signs of cunning and great intelligence, due to the affects of the ALZ-113 virus, as he plots to fool the apes into believing that humans killed Caesar. When in power, Koba was a downright 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 also saying that he fought to free the Apes, when he actually fought for himself. He was 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.
Although, 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 harms way for them. A prime example being when he stabbed a bear to save them. 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.
It is not until the end where Koba became a remorseless and cruel psychopath who was desperate for war against the humans and would kill anybody in the way, apes and humans alike. His psychopathic features became obvious by many traits such as a lack of remorse or empathy, egomania and capacity for violent tendencies.
While Koba claims that he only fought for apes, he shows 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 killing Ash simply because he defied his orders, left a wounded ape to die during his fight with Caesar and personally attempted to shoot any other apes during his last stand, which killed one of the apes and wounded Maurice.
Much of Koba's background is shrouded in mystery. However, it is known that he was born in a primate research facility and once fully-grown, he was forcibly removed from his home after funding for the program was cut. Over the years, he was transferred to various laboratories as a lab rat, and as a result was subjected to torture for many years. He was eventually sent to Gen-Sys as a test subject during the development of the ALZ-113 drug. As a result of all of the abuse he received, Koba developed a strong hatred towards humans, mainly towards Steven Jacobs, the greedy head of Gen-Sys.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
After exposure to the ALZ-113 drug, his intelligence was surprisingly increased to the point where he was able to write Jacobs' name, but Jacobs was too overjoyed with the apparent success of the virus to notice Koba's vicious intentions towards him. During one of these tests, he attacked Franklin, knocking off his mask and exposing him to the ALZ-113. It was soon proven in the days to come that while the virus improved the intelligence of the apes, it was deadly to humans. The virus was accidentally released into the human population, killing off most of the world's population as the pandemic reached global proportions.
Battle at the Golden Gate Bridge
Koba was soon freed by Caesar and joined the rebellion to find haven in Muir Woods Park and was ordered by Caesar to climb the Golden Gate Bridge's high wire supports. During the battle, Buck, a comrade and friend of Caesar's, was killed by Jacobs, who was now dangling from the wreckage of a helicopter on the edge of the bridge. Not willing to kill him but also not caring for him, Caesar left Jacobs in the hands of Koba. He begged for mercy, but Koba pushed Jacobs off the bridge without hesitation, sending a screaming Jacobs and the damaged helicopter falling into the water below.
Koba and the other apes escaped in Muir Woods Park, where Will had come to find Caesar. Koba attacked him but was stopped by Caesar. Koba then ran off. However, he rejoins the apes in acknowledging Caesar's leadership.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
After the Simian Flu disease
|“||Humans attack your sons! You let them stay? Put apes in danger! Caesar loves humans more than apes! More than your sons!||„|
|~ Koba berating Caesar about his sympathy for humans and apes.|
Ten years after the outbreak of the ALZ-113 virus (also known as the Simian Flu), Koba is now living with Caesar in the ape colony, where he acts as an adviser to Caesar and a mentor to his young son, Blue Eyes. Caesar seems to have forgiven Koba for his attempted attack on Will and the two act as friends. During a deer hunt, Koba saves Caesar and Blue Eyes from a grizzly bear for which Caesar expresses his gratitude to Koba.
When a group of humans stumble upon the ape colony, one of them, Carver, shoots and wounds a young ape named Ash, Blue Eye's best friend. Caesar, Koba, and the other apes rush to their aid and force the humans out. The following night, the ape council decides on how they should deal with the humans. Koba strongly suggests they attack the humans before they can attack themselves, to which many of the apes, including Blue Eyes, agree. However, Caesar disagrees, feeling war will do more harm than good, so he conducts a diplomatic plan to deal with the human threat. The following morning, an entire ape army appears and forces the humans to stay in their land, while the apes stay in theirs.
This does not last, for a group of humans led by Malcolm return to talk the following day. Malcolm says that the hydroelectric dam, which is located in the ape territory, is the only chance the humans have at regaining power. Caesar allows them in, which angers Koba greatly. This causes an argument, to which Koba reminds Caesar of the mistreatment he suffered at the hands of humanity. Seeing that he offended his leader, Koba asks Caesar for forgiveness, which he accepts. Nonetheless, Koba is still not convinced of the humans' real plans, and begins to doubt his leader's loyalty.
Battle for Peace
|“||APES WIN WAR! APES, TOGETHER, STRONG!||„|
|~ Koba to Caesar, revealing his true colors.|
He and his two followers sneak into the human city and discover a vast array of weaponry, which he believes will be used for an attack. Though Koba is caught, he is able to escape with his life by pretending to act like a circus monkey to two guards. Returning to the ape colony to warn Caesar, Koba is dismayed when he learns that the humans are still there. Koba in turn attacks Malcolm's teenage son, Alexander, but is stopped by Malcolm and Maurice. Outraged, Koba accuses Caesar of loving humans more than the apes and his sons, which angers Caesar and leads to a violent brawl between him and Koba, which ends with Koba on the floor with a bloodied face. Caesar stops and reminds himself the one most important rule in the colony, Ape not kill ape. Koba again asks for forgiveness and again Caesar accepts. Though now, Koba puts his plans into motion.
After talking with Blue Eyes on his father's feelings towards humans, Koba returns to the armory. He performs the circus act again, Koba plays with them and the humans find him funny and laugh along with him, but then Koba starts drinking aggressively, and the Humans starts being cautious about what Koba will do, Koba walks up to one of the humans and grabs the rifle, and shoots them. With his new weapon in hand, Koba sneaks back into the ape colony. Before doing so, he ambushes and kills Carver, taking his hat and lighter. As the apes celebrate, Koba secretly orders his two henchapes, Grey and Stone, to set the ape village on fire using Carver's lighter. Koba then sneaks up to Caesar and the two briefly stare at each other before Koba shoots Caesar in the shoulder, badly wounding him and causing him to fall off a ledge to his apparent death. Koba uses this to gain leadership of the colony and, having successfully manipulated the other apes into believing that the humans killed Caesar, convinces the ape clan to turn against the humans and rallies as they prepare to attack the city.
The attack begins by the apes storming the armory and taking as many guns as they can and move onto the city. As many apes are getting killed in the ensuring battle, Koba charges in and shoots several of the human guards on top of the tower and takes over a man-driven tank, the last chance of action against the apes. Koba then uses the tank to break through the gate allowing the apes to successfully take control of the human city, though the human leader, Dreyfus, escapes. Koba soon proves to be a cynically unhinged, ruthless, and tyrannical leader to humans and apes alike. This is shown when he demands Ash to kill an unarmed man, but he refused as it wouldn't have been what Caesar wanted. Koba appears to comfort the guilt-ridden Ash at first, but then angrily drags him up to the highest level of the building's foyer and then tossing him down to the ground below, killing him in front of everyone including Blue-Eyes. Shortly after killing Ash, Koba declares himself to be the new leader of the ape colony upon lamenting that Ceaser is gone. He soon furthers his cruelty by forcing all the captured humans into cages and imprisoned other apes, including Caesar's other advisers and his former friends Maurice and Rocket, due to them being loyal to Caesar.
Yet unbeknownst to Koba, Caesar is still alive, and is found by Malcolm and his family and healed back to health. When Malcolm goes to their former home to find medicine, he is discovered by Blue Eyes, who is brought to his father before turning on Koba when Caesar reveals that he is the sole reason that led to his assumed death and the last battle between apes and humans. The father and son recoil and realize they must put an end to Koba's tyranny. Blue Eyes frees the humans and apes taken prisoner by Koba and learns that Koba has sent for the women and children, including Caesar's wife and infant son. Fearing his entire family may be at risk, Caesar knows he must act.
Showdown and Defeat
|“||Caesar brother to HUMANS! Koba fight for apes! FREE APES!!! (Caesar: Kill ape! (Whispers deeply) Koba fight for Koba! Koba…belong…in cage!)||„|
|~ Koba and Caesar during their fight.|
Caesar, his loyal followers (including Maurice), and Malcolm head to the city towards the tower where Koba and his followers have made their base. Malcolm leads the apes into the tower and is rejoined with Dreyfus and few other surviving humans. Malcolm learns that Dreyfus has rigged the tower with C-4 explosives. Malcolm holds the men at gunpoint as Caesar confronts Koba at the tower. The two begin to exchange words with Koba telling Caesar he does not belong the the ape clan and reminds him that he has been replaced. Caesar warns Koba of the danger he is forcing their species into when going to war against humanity, but Koba shouts out his determination that Apes will win, copying Caesar's last quote "Apes, together strong". Koba begins to to insult Caesar's leadership by calling him weak, but Caesar remains unhinged, quietly retorting "Koba weaker". Koba points a gun at Caesar, but instead drops it and attacks his former friend; the two apes then engage in a brutal fight. At first, Koba appears to have the upper hand, but Caesar uses Koba's hatred of humans and their torture of him against him and is able to wound the bonobo in his side. Just as the two primates continue to fight, Dreyfus detonates the C-4, killing himself and his two accomplices, but Malcolm survives by ducking under the platform they were on. The tower partially collapses and many of the apes are left in the rubble.
While Caesar and Blue Eyes help the wounded apes, Koba finds a gun, leaving behind an ape under the rubble to get it no less, and shoots at Caesar and the other apes, killing one and injuring Maurice. Enraged, Caesar dives at Koba and tackles him, leaving him dangling on a ledge over the 250 foot deep, fiery shaft in the center of the tower. Koba, clinging for dear life is approached by Caesar. Pleading for his life, Koba reminds Caesar of the colony law: "Ape not kill ape". Caesar grabs Koba's hand and initially considers saving him. But just as he nearly pulls Koba up to safety, Caesar takes a good look at all the apes Koba had traumatized. Unable to forgive or forget Koba's actions, Caesar turns to look at Koba one last time and coldly claims that, due to Koba's betrayal and crimes, Koba is no longer a true ape. Having disowned him, Caesar lets go of the surprised Koba's hand, sending the screaming treacherous bonobo falling onto a damaged crane after hitting a connecting wire, which then collapses into the deep, fiery shaft with Koba still on it - thus granting Koba his comeuppance upon falling to his death. This finally ends Koba's tyranny and avenges all the apes and humans Koba had killed. Caesar would later mourn for Koba's death because of the former friendship they had with each other before it was destroyed.
Despite Koba's downfall and demise, his actions made it impossible for the apes to make peace with the humans, resulting the impending war with the humans to come. Therefore, even though Koba didn't live to see it, he got exactly what he wanted in death: war with the humans.
War of the Planet of the Apes
|“||Sleep…you cannot save them. Apes all die…here. Yes. Join me.||„|
|~ Koba mocking Caesar in a hallucination and told him to give up.|
Koba plays a small role in the third movie as a posthumous antagonist who appeared in a few flashbacks.
He first appeared when Maurice says to Caesar that he is starting to become like Koba, a warlord, Caesar feels angry and sad, and gets a flashback about Koba, the second time Koba appears is when Red pours ice cold water on Caesar, he gets a creepy flashback with Koba intimidating him with a bloody face and tells him that he cannot save his people.
The third and last time he appears, is at the end of the movie when Caesar is losing hope, he says that "they are the only ones left" and that "they" need to win. Caesar finally accepts the fact that he may be starting to become similar to Koba and stays behind the finish off the Colonel while the rest of the apes flee into safety. In the end however, Caesar maintained his compassion and sympathy towards humans as he opted to leave the Colonel, the man who destroyed his family and harmed his colony, deciding his own fate upon seeing him succumbed to Simian Flu which threaten to devolve him.
The Apes did succeed in murdering the humans even though this act occurred.
Koba himself had gone down as a monster and a traitor to the ape colony for his betrayal against Caesar and nearly causing the destruction of the Ape colony. Despite his actions however, Koba was viewed as a martyr by many of the apes who were loyal to him. After his death, they questioned Caesar's leadership and they ended up defecting to the human military instead as they were only loyal to Koba. Many of the apes, such as Red, later became "Donkeys" for the human military arm known as Alpha-Omega and collaborated with them during the Human-Ape war.
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 the much younger Caesar on two separate occasions. 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. However, Koba's strength was ultimately inferior to Caesar's but it was more a question of biology.
- 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.
- 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.
|“||For years I was a prisoner in their labs. They cut me. Tortured me. You freed me, I would do anything you ask, but now we must show strength!||„|
|~ Koba urging Caesar to begin a war with the humans.|
|~ Koba ordering Ash to kill an innocent human, before the latter refuses, resulting in him killing Ash.|
|“||Caesar... gone. Apes follow Koba now!||„|
|~ Koba after murdering Ash.|
|“||Caesar has no place here! Apes follow Koba now! (Caesar: Follow Koba to war?!) APES WIN WAR!! APES... TOGETHER... STRONG!!! Caesar... weak. (Caesar: Koba... weaker.)||„|
|~ Koba harassing Caesar and the latter's response.|
|“||Ape not kill ape. (Caesar: You are..... NOT ape!) NOOOOO!!!!||„|
|~ Koba’s final words before Caesar refused to save his life and dropped him to his death and crashing into a crate.|
- "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 emphasised 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 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.
- 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 is referred to as "One-Eye" in the humans' point of view.
- 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 the darker face. His legs and body seem to be the same as that of the other chimpanzees who appear in the film.