Basically, I ended somewhere on the reboot film made in 2001. I would like to get back to Planet of Apes series and watch it again.

With Star Wars franchise, there is famous order of how should one watch the series. Is there something similar with The Planet of Apes series?

  • 6
    My preferred order is to watch the original, then stop because all of the others aren't worthy of the name.
    – user7812
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 15:19
  • 2
    Please keep in mind that the timeline is badly out of whack, even in-universe. As such, it's kind of difficult to watch them in any order other than the one they were released in, as you're always going to recognize the inconsistencies. It's impossible to watch them in any order that fully explains or holds to a specific chronology. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 15:35
  • Here's a novel idea-why not start with the original and watch them all in the order they were released? There may be time line issues but it's the best we have. And when you come to Rise and Dawn turn them off and go to bed. Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 6:01

6 Answers 6


Star Wars is a single franchise, but Planet of the Apes doesn't work like that. First, there is :

Original film series

They should be followed in release order.

Then comes the Television series

Both TV series are based on the same work as the original movie series but they are stand-alone series (even unrelated to each other) and can be watched separately in any order.

Then comes reboot

2001's reboot was expected to kick-start a new franchise but it never succeeds.

New reboot

All works are based on the same novel but their direction is a bit different and they do play with the story and go a different way.

So you can either pick all or pick any one franchise. 2001's Burton's version is not part of recent reboot and if you are only interested in the new iteration, then start with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and skip previous works. Else you can watch the original film series. Both TV series are individual and can be watched separately if you want.

I will recommend picking only from the original movie series or the latest reboot or both.

  • 1
    Actually, the animated series is wildly different from anything that came before it. The apes have a higher level of technology, for one thing. Pretty much everything borrows from the 1968 film, though, which differs from the novel in several respects, such as the technological level of the ape society; the novel has apes far more advanced than anything seen on film to date. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 1:18
  • Is it necessary to watch Planet of the Apes (2001 film) before watching new reboot (2011, 2014 and 2017)?
    – Vikas
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 12:27
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    @Vikas no 2001 film is solo film with no relation to other films
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 12:44

As far as I'm aware, there are two suggested watching orders:

1. Release order of films:

This involves watching the films in the order they were (or will be) released:

enter image description here

2. In-universe chronological order of films:

This involves watching the films in the in-universe timeline order presented in each of the films (which is a little complicated due to the alternative timelines and reboots involved). This looks like so (thanks to Gizmodo for this image):

enter image description here

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    The graph is making things more complicated as both the works are unrelated and should be watched separately. Anyways you forgot to mention about TV series.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 13:40
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    The series are included in the second graph, although I took the question to be primarily focussed on the films. It doesn't matter that the works are unrelated, fans will always want to find a way to combine them in some way Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 13:42
  • Original film series work in closed loop and are self contained (egg-hen-egg) and related it to new series which is already deviating a lot is too weird. And Tim's version is complete skip-able as its a failed franchise and didn't even complete itself and not much good either.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 13:45
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    I don't disagree, but there is still an ability to watch them in in-universe chronological time. Whether it works or not is debateable, but many do it. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 13:46
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    Ah I understand. Never even considered it. The whole "series" is all built around the films which is what I looked at. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 13:49

If you've never seen the movies, I'd recommend watching them in their release order, but with the film chronology, it seems this is really the truer order of events for the storyline, to me, if you want to follow how apes gained control of the world:

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

    • Action takes place in the 2010s
    • Cesar's origin as the infant son of "Bright Eyes" and introduction to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument (this origin is in contradiction to the Cesar origin of Escape from the Planet of the Apes, but that is because this is the original Cesar that learned speech from humans and taught others - not one born to future parents that can already talk)
    • Humanity encounters the Simian Flu
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

    • Action takes place in the 2020s
    • Humanity is decimated by the Simian Flu
    • Battle between humans in San Francisco and the Apes
  • Reboot Planet of the Apes (2001)

    • Action takes place at first in 2029, close to present-day, then 5021
    • Station was presumably launched at the same time the Simian virus was decimating humanity on Earth and as a last-ditch response so that medical research could take place, though this effort is not shown because the movies containing the flu in the storyline had not yet been made.
    • Events on the station are either prior to or while the Battle of San Francisco is raging, since the station would have needed to have been launched prior to apes becoming a threat, and the station had not suspended ape escape pod training or taken any extreme measures that one might think would happen when learning that Earth apes had risen up to battle humans.
    • Astronaut Leo Davidson and Pericles are catapulted to 5021 when apes rule on a planet where Davidson crashes and eventually Pericles lands. Apes are war-like and have enslaved humans. The planet is largely barren. Wikipedia says the planet is "Ashlar", implying the electromagnetic storm was also a wormhole, but it would make more sense if this was simply an alternate, future Earth that was saved from destruction in 3978 due to the arrival of the Space Station apes in 2029.
    • The barrenness of the planet might be explained by a nuclear holocaust, but the apes would likely have to have arrived after the bombs fell to survive. A nuclear war ~2025 would explain this, and also a lack of communication from Earth to the station about the storm and danger of apes.
    • Since the introduction of the storm means a new timeline, events in 3978 do not necessarily have to unfold as originally told in Beneath the Planet of the Apes due to the injection of these apes that had been held in captivity, but were now free to kill/enslave humans as they pleased.

    Apes that are able to speak in this film are shown to be the descendants of those onboard the crashed Air Force Space Station Oberon "thousands of years ago" to Davidson's time reference, according to his remark when assessing the age of the station and logs, when found. We don't know for sure exactly when the apes landed, but it would have to either be 1) after humans nuked the planet, or 2) before humans made their mark on the world, due to the barrenness of the planet-meaning well before the Middle Ages. I believe it was the former, leading to sometime between 2029-~3000, since the craft was not so old that power had yet fully depleted.

    The apes Davidson finds were likely not bred from those that Cesar led in the other films, but a different band altogether, in a different area and era. It might even be a different planet, as Wikipedia suggests, but if this is simply a later Earth, it makes more sense and shows how the storm and station crashing alters the timeline through allowing apes to rise up against and enslave their captors and the natives they encountered when the station crashes down to Earth-perhaps inspiring apes finding Taylor in 3978 to kill him on-sight or be more ruthless, thereby preventing human survivors from hording a doomsday weapon and Taylor from setting it off and destroying the planet.

    One more reason I believe this is just an earlier Earth is because the ending has Davidson arriving in a Ape-occupied D.C. back in what looks like the modern age with a General Thade statue (one of the Apes Davidson had met before) sitting where Abraham Lincoln should've been. This could be woven into the timeline by either saying that Davidson actually traveled further into the future where the apes had descendants that eventually rebuilt America, and Davidson and Pericles had set this in motion in the previous time era by saying humans and apes should live together as equals. But otherwise, it would have to either be where General Thade's apes and humans work together to become a space-faring civilization and reach Earth through the same storm as Davidson, but at some time in the mid-1800s, so that the Lincoln Memorial would house General Thade, instead of Lincoln, or Davidson has arrived in an Ape-filled D.C. through a dimensional time-rift that gets him to the right time and back to Earth, but to an incorrect dimension.

Original series timeline

  • Planet of the Apes (1968)

    • Action takes place in 3978; this action would be back in the normal timeline, and not dependent on what occurred in the rebooted Planet of the Apes (2001).
    • Astronauts from the 1970s arrive in a future, Ape-dominated Earth
    • Era is after nuclear war and Cesar's death
    • Apes have become war-like again and are enslaving/killing humans for sport/experimenting on humans

    Taylor takes Nova as a female companion and find a destroyed Statue of Liberty, which becomes the premise of Beneath the Planet of the Apes

  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

    • Action takes place in 3978, where the first movie left off

    Taylor blows up the world with a Doomsday Bomb when the apes march on the Forbidden Zone - the post-apocalyptic underground of a future New York City. Due to the events starting in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, this story is no longer the likely outcome, however.

Original series alternate timeline

  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

    • Zira and Cornelius arrive in 1973, in the original timeline, from a destroyed Earth, and create an alternate timeline by their actions
    • Cesar is born as Zira's infant son

    Cesar is traded places with a circus ringleader's monkey, Heloise. Heloise is thrown overboard when Zira and Cornelius are cornered by the military, so the military would believe Cesar was drowned, and the real Cesar could survive.

  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

    • Action takes place in 1993
    • Cesar (from Zira and Cornelius) leads his revolt against humans after seeing apes become slaves after dogs and cats die off in 1983 (ten years earlier)
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

    • Post-apocalyptic era - Nuclear war has occurred; action takes place ~2003
    • Cesar goes to the Forbidden City (assumed as Los Angeles, from Escape from the Planet of the Apes, since Cornelius and Zira were taken to the L.A. Zoo) to obtain archived records of his parents, and his band is attacked by humans that have survived the nuclear blast

    After a final battle with the war-like humans and apes, Aldo, an ape who provoked the apes to attack the humans after the humans declared war, themselves, by killing ape scouts to make it look like the humans did it, is found out by Cesar and dies trying to escape justice. Peace reigns and humans are treated as equals to apes after this event, through at least 2670, when the narrator reveals a statue of Cesar marked AD 2670.

TV Series episodes

The TV series could have easily taken place during the time between the Space Station crash and Davidson's arrival in 5021, putting it between events in the rebooted Planet of the Apes, or set after Battle for the Planet of the Apes, in the given year for the episodes, 3085, giving a person the impression that the peace of 2670 at the end of Battle ultimately failed.

This is just the order I see of how events unfolded, when weaving in the newer movies into the story.

enter image description here


I figure you should watch them like this Escape from the planet of the apes Conquest of the planet of the apes Battle then go back to 1 and 2 but if you are new to the series you should watch the original first.

  • Is there a reason you picked this order? Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 23:11

The subway-route looking graphs above are missing the point. It's a loop, and the 1975 tv series is in between the end of Battle for, and the state of ape world that is found by Taylor in the beginning of the original POTA. The chronology of the story arc is Escape 1973 > Conquest 1993 > Battle 2003 > Battle epilogue 2600 > tv series 3085 > original movie / Beneath 3978 > looping around to Escape again.

But it is probably best viewed in the order actually released, but with full context of the loop I just described.

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    Thank you for assisting the community. Ideas for framing an answer may include describing your sources along with a synopsis of what they said, and/or adding links to the resources and visuals you’ve found. I hope you enjoy participating.
    – John
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 19:53

The original versions were pressure made, people wanted more films, so they were made, watch the documentary DVD that comes with most box sets, and you will hear the pressure all were under to make one after the other. One thing I have worked out is that in the original, if Taylor and his crew never landed there would be no Ape planet due to the fact that it was his craft that sent back the three to past Earth, he started it and he ended it.

The new re-writes make more sense until War is released we won't know what comes next, but a little clue in Rise reports a missing space craft, so if no other is made after War you could probably link up Taylor and Brent and leave it at that.

  • How does it answer the question?
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 7:04

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