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Villain Overview
Apes follow Koba now.
~ Koba addressing himself as the new leader of the ape colony following Caesar's "demise".

Koba is a major recurring antagonist of the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise, starting off as a supporting protagonist in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the main antagonist 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 main protagonist, Caesar, whom he initially respected.

He was formerly the friend, right-hand adviser and brother-in-arms turned archenemy of Caesar, but later 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).

Personality

(In sign language) "From humans...Koba learned hate...but nothing else."
~ Caesar describing Koba's dreadful past.

Koba was a short-tempered, manipulative, treacherous and vindictive 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 was also an extremely brave animal, 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, 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 reveals his true nature (because of he didn't know better); 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 a massive 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.

Skills 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 brainwash 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.

Quotes

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.
Kill him.
~ 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 spare his life and dropped him to his death and crashing into a crate.

Trivia

  • "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.
  • Koba is considered an antagonistic foil to Caesar, the film's hero, due to his violent and aggressive nature contrasting with the more benevolent and pacifist character of Caesar. Whenever the apes are following Caesar, they are more
  • When the film first came out, Koba was the only villain that was an ape. After his appearance, two other villains came along.
  • 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.
  • Ironically, Koba is killed in much the same way as 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 fairy tale, 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.
  • Koba can be considered the closest thing the films will ever get to a Big Bad so far.
  • Even though Koba is pure evil he was ranked on Watchmojos Top 10 sympathetic movie villains as number #5, Top 10 Movie characters with tragic backstories as number #8, And top 10 movie villains with justifiable motives as #2
  • Koba is partly responsible for the ALZ-113 pandemic because he exposed Robert Franklin who was not wearing a breathing mask while the 113's feed tube was loose. This make's Carver's statement somewhat true about apes having already "killed off half the planet". This could make him the main antagonist of the entire reboot Planet of the Apes series.
  • Koba may be based on two real life apes: Kanzi, a bonobo who mastered keyboard communication at Georgia State University (and whose name also starts with the letter "K"); and a wild, aggressive chimpanzee named Saddam, who was known to have murdered a number of children near the Kibale National Park in Uganda before he was hunted down by an angry mob.
  • 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.
  • Despite Koba's hatred for humans, his actions during Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have him appear more human-like than any of his fellow apes, even Caesar. For example, he speaks English the most fluently and coherently from exercising his vocal chords more often, he is the first of the Ape Colony to use a man-made weapon such as a gun when attempting to assassinate Caesar and going to war with the human survivors, and like the humans that once dominated the continents of the world, he is willing to kill members of his own kind in the pursuit of power and vengeance.
  • 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.
  • In the article by Collider, Toby Kebbell revealed a huge chunk of Koba's backstory revealing how Koba has come to despise humans and how he became blinded in one eye.
  • Koba makes two appearances in the first TV spot for Dawn. The first is him sitting on his horse at Caesar's side and the second is him on his horse, riding through the forest.
  • Toby Kebbell stated interest in playing Koba again in War for the Planet of the Apes, greatly implying Koba has survived. If he does return, he will likely be a secondary antagonist, but producer Dylan Clark has confirmed that Koba is 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 be killed by Caesar.
  • Though Koba is supposedly killed when Caesar drops him into the pit, sounds of moving rubble and an ape breathing hardly suggests that Koba is alive and breathing. He may have survived the fall but succumbed afterwards.
  • Out of all the apes that play active parts in Rise, Koba is the only one that didn't inhale the ALZ-113 when Caesar released it on the other apes. He received the ALZ-113 at Gen-Sys Laboratories when Will and his team administered it to him.
  • In one scene of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Koba may have spoke in which it sounded like he said "Amon".
  • Koba  is a bonobo, a species of ape found to the south of the Congo River in Africa. Once thought to be chimpanzees, they have been classified as a separate species.
  • Koba is the first and only known bonobo to appear in a Planet of the Apes film.
    • 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.

Navigation

           Planet of the Apes Villains

Main Antagonists
Dr. Zaius | General Ursus | Dr. Otto Hasslein | Governor Breck | General Aldo | General Thade | Steven Jacobs | Koba | Colonel McCullough

Major Antagonists
Albina | Governor Kolp | Attar | Mendez I | Urko | Dodge Landon | Dreyfus | Red | Preacher

Minor Antagonists
Mendez XXVI | Ongaro | Adiposo | Limbo | Douglas Hunsiker | Carver | Winter

The Headlined Villains
2009

January
Shadow Queen

February
None

March
Lord Voldemort

April
Darth Vader

May
Dahlia Gillespie

June
Smithy

July
Manfred Von Karma

August
Light Yagami

September
Lee Woo-jin

October
Imhullu

November
Gaston LeGume

December
None

2010

January
Leatherface (original)

February
GLaDOS

March
Edward Hyde

April
Dimentio

May
The Chairstealer

June
Walter Sullivan

July
Vlad the Impaler

August
None

September
Audrey II

October
Albert Wesker

November
None

December
Skynet

2011

January
Thanos (Marvel)

February
Big Brother (Nineteen Eighty-Four)

March
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez

April
Lord Zedd

May
Magneto

June
Cthulhu (Lovecraft)

July
Shredder (1987 TMNT)

August
None

September
Cobra Commander

October
None

November
None

December
None

2012

January
Doctor Doom (Marvel)

February
Lucifer (Dante's Inferno)

March
Vilgax

April
Peter Stegman

May
Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal)

June
President Coriolanus Snow

2013

February
Dominic Greene

September
Chase Young

December
Benjamin Willis

2014

May
Kyuubey
Geese Howard
Horace Pinker

July
Kurumi Tokisaki

August
Grand High Witch

September
James Moriarty

October
Koba

November
B.P. Richfield

December
Judge Claude Frollo

2015

January
The Grinch

February
Darth Nihilus

March
Darkseid (DC)

April
Fallen Hana

May
Dick Dastardly

June
Francis Dolarhyde

July
Nyarlathotep (Lovecraft)

August
Pamela Voorhees

September
Frieza

October
Agatha Trunchbull

November
The Beldam

December
Santa Clause

2016

January
Randall Flagg

February
Alex (A Clockwork Orange)

March
Yog-Sothoth

April
Esdeath

May
Count Dracula (Bram Stoker)

June
Jerome Valeska

July
Lord Shen

August
Bill Cipher

September
Tate Langdon

October
Oogie Boogie

November
Dr. Venom

December
Krampus (Krampus)

2017

January
Joker (Nolanverse)

February
Lust

March
Lubdan

April
Sauron (Middle-earth)

May
Aku

June
General Grievous

July
Norman Osborn (Marvel)

August
Jaws (007)

September
It (Stephen King)

October
Ridley (Metroid)

November
Venom (Marvel)

December
Stripe

2018

January
Frank the Rabbit

February
Queen of Hearts (Disney)

March
Bowser

April
Bebop and Rocksteady

May
Ainz Ooal Gown

June
Father (Fullmetal Alchemist)

July
Thulsa Doom

August
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