Villain Overview
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 Ceaser to begin a war with the humans.
Apes follow Koba now.
~ Koba addressing himself as the new leader of the ape colony following Caesar's "demise".
Ape not kill ape
~ Koba, before Caesar refused to let him live and just dropped him to his death and crashing into a crate.

Koba is a major recurring antagonist of the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise, starting off as an anti-hero 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 right-hand adviser and brother-in-arms of Ceasar, but later betrayed him upon harboring a vendetta against humanity for tormenting him in the past 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 voiced 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).


Rise of the Planet of the Apes


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 for humans, mainly towards Steven Jacobs, the greedy head of Gen-Sys.



Koba staring at Jacobs after writing his name on the screen

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 preparing to push Jacobs off the 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 bridges 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 and 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.

Koba asking Muarice where's Caesar

Koba asking Maurice about Caesar's whereabouts.

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

Koba on tower

Koba beginning his showdown with Caesar.

"Caesar brother to HUMANS! Koba fight for apes! FREE APES!!!"
"Kill ape! (Whispers deeply) Koba fight for Koba! 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 sparing him. But just as he nearly pulls Koba up to safety, Ceaser takes a look at all the apes Koba had traumatized. Unable to forgive or forget what Koba had done, Ceaser 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. Caesar then lets go of Koba's hand, sending the manipulative and 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 cannot save them. Apes all 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 can not 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 an almost ironic way, the actions of Koba eventually caused the death of Caesar, who ended up being shot a human soldier named Preacher following the death of Colonel McCullough.

The Apes did succeed in killing the humans even though this.

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.


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

Koba was the most dangerous enemy the apes and the humans had ever faced. He was highly intelligent, psychopathic, belittling, ruthless, violent, cruel, evil, sadistic, unstable, manipulative, and vindictively vengeful. 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.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Koba, traumatized and disordered by the years of experimentation, abuse, and neglect he had received, was psychologically unbalanced and extremely vengeful, with a bitter grudge against humans, most notably Steven Jacobs. Malakai Youmans noted that Koba's neutral expression was identical to those he had seen on the faces of child soldiers he had encountered in Central Africa. Highly intelligent and bitterly cynical, Koba enacted his revenge on Jacobs at the climax of the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge, by ruthlessly pushing him to his death without saying a word and with a cruel, malevolent glare flashing in his eyes. He was also short-tempered, aggressive, ruthless, strong, vindictive, powerful and had a strong hatred for humans due to them treating him like a guinea pig and torturing him with their research. In fact, his hatred and vengeance was the cause of humanity's downfall due to him pulling off his gas mask and putting on the face of Robert Franklin and infecting him with the ALZ-113 that would later affect all of humanity.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm

When he was younger, Koba believed that apes who didn't use sign language are "big black caterpillars", and he did not always hate humans as he was very close to his kind human handler/caregiver Mary.

Despite his past experiences, Koba did have a kinder side which was shown when he was under the care of human caretaker named Mary who was like a mother to him. Now after suffering under the foot of humans he only shows this side when he is in the company of his own kind who truly understand and can relate to what he went through. He served as a mentor to the younger generation of apes, especially his honorary nephews Blue Eyes and Ash, the sons of his close friends, Caesar and Rocket. He was also kind to the other adult apes, including Maurice of whom he offered fruit to during the early days before the Ape Village was established. On the other hand, his bad experiences at Gen-Sys Laboratories and with his cruel caregivers has blinded him (both literally and figuratively) to the point where he has forgotten or disregarded the fact that not all humans are bad.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Excluding the hatred of humans and internal suffering, he appears to be rather level headed in the battlefield, a good leader and offers compassion to the apes who are in pain. He shows this specifically when he constantly supported Blue eyes an acted as another role model or second father in his life, whether it be saving his life, or telling him that his scars make him strong, Koba appeared to truly care for his fellow apes during the period of time in which they thought the humans had died away. 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.

However, Koba's hatred for humans was eventually reborn when humans were rediscovered 10 years after the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge and Simian Flu. His actions of getting rid of them went too far as it resulted in the destruction of his people's newly built home in the Muir Woods Park and the impending war against humans that also harmed his ape brethren. He maintained his extreme respect towards Caesar's benevolence, but that did not imply that he agreed with his leader. Despite Koba's tremendous respect for Caesar, this did not stop him from gunning down his old friend in the end; revealing a treacherous and power-hungry nature.

Because of his hatred towards humans, Koba 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 of society and desires for all of them to suffer just as he did. Koba also showed no mercy when killing his fellow apes when they fail to obey him, as seen when he throws Ash to his death with Blue Eyes and other young apes watching on. During the course of Dawn, Koba begins to show alarming signs of chronic mental disorder, the main traits of this being extreme violence, egomania, and incapacity for guilt or remorse. This leads to Koba becoming a violent psychopath towards the end of the film.

Koba was also cunning; he brainwashed Blue Eyes, Caesar's son, to fight by his side, and also staged Caesar's death and the destruction of the colony home, whilst blaming the humans who would have been the most obvious threat to the colony. Koba was highly intelligent and astute, sharing the same cerebrality as Caesar, even if his path of thought was far more erratic than Caesar. Koba was maniacal and delusional, his bad experiences in Gen-Sys Laboratories inspiring him into violence against humans, to the point of being megalomaniacal and egocentric, not to mention immoral, cruel, sadistic and tyrannical against his fellow apes; he was not at all above murdering his own people if they displeased him. Koba's concept of being incredibly manipulative was piqued when he successfully made two human soldiers think he was stupid, shown by his faked playfulness with guns. However, he showed his true colors to the soldiers when, during one encounter, after entertaining them with his feigned stupidity, he shot them both with their own gun without a second thought.

Koba shares the same charisma as Caesar, but he wastes his oratory and leadership talents by resorting to violence, oppression and tyranny. He preferred to use force rather than diplomacy to settle differences with an opponent. Koba was also a person of excellent intelligence and cunning, shown by him destroying the colony home, as well as attempting to kill Caesar, whilst simultaneously framing the humans in the process. Also, he was also a meticulously powerful tactician, shown by his proficiency in leading the human holocaust at the climax of the film. However, in his belief that physical power solved everything, he was powerless when Caesar used psychological warfare shown in their fight.

Koba was also a pyromaniac, which was shown in his gleeful use of machine-guns during the Battle in San Francisco, the burning of the ape village, and when he opened fire on Caesar and the other apes on the human tower. Koba was a massive selfish-hypocrite, during his showdown with Caesar he screeched to his former friend that he fought for apes and the fact that he believes this only confirms his insanity as Koba shows a dangerous lack of concern for his fellow species which is evidence in how he aforementioned murdered Ash without a second thought when he did not kill two humans as he was asked to do and once again when he took a final attempt to murder Caesar and in doing so left a wounded ape to die. He was also willing to push 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.

Koba was extremely arrogant, as he believed that Caesar's compassion and sympathy for humans made him weak and believed he was unfit to rule as king, which was quite the opposite, out of arrogance, Koba believed he would be a far better leader then Caesar, unfortunately, he proved to be a tyrannical leader as well as the fact he was weaker then Caesar; in terms of intelligence, wisdom, strength and leadership, he was also extremely unreasonable, even when Caesar pointed out that starting a war with the humans would result in the loss of life from both sides, he still went through with his plan of overthrowing/apparently killing his former friend Caesar, and starting a war with the humans.

When pushed into a corner, he resorted to begging as seen when he pleaded to Caesar to save him despite his attempts to kill him. 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.

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 overpowers several police officers with ease, even throwing one clean off his feet. 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 when he was dual-wielding machine-guns.

He 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 epic 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 very 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 seconds only.


  • "Koba" is a nickname for Joseph Stalin before the revolution. Koba is also based from him 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.
  • So far, he is the only villain in the reboot films who is an ape.
  • Koba shares similar traits with General Thade, another Planet of the Apes villain. Both are fierce, dangerous, bad-tempered, and sadistic, willing to kill anyone to get what they want (including their own kind), and succeed in taking over Earth. But their most striking similarity is their hatred for humans: both see apes as superior to humans, use great violence against them, and wish to exterminate them. The difference is that Thade was simply disgusted by humans, while Koba's hatred is a manifestation of the many years of human torture he suffered.
  • 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 seemingly 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".
  • Koba is arguably the most cruel and sadistic villain of the Planet of the Apes saga.
  • It is speculated that Koba survived the fall and is rescued by some of his loyal followers as the sounds heard after the end credits appear to be that of shifting rubble and an ape gasping for air.
    • However, even if he did survive his fall, Koba would have been burned to death by the fires at the bottom of the shaft. Therefore, he is definitely dead, so the sounds of an ape gasping for air is most likely another ape.
    • It was also speculated that he will return in the third film and exact revenge on Caesar; however, he only appeared in a few flashbacks.
  • 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." As it turns out, Koba is indeed the main antagonist of the film.
  • While Koba does have, in fact, a tragic backstory within the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he ultimately became Pure Evil, as his personal vendetta against humanity has not only corrupted his sanity, but also drove him into endangering his ape colony under the threat of waging war against his tyranny.
    • Therefore he is not a Tragic villain because his actions do not excuse his evil deeds, even with a tragic backstory that people can sympathize with.
    • As such, Koba's personal vendetta has also rendered him into becoming a homicidal tyrant as he ends up killing any ape who he deems as a threat to his genocidal policy.
      • Plus, Koba became a tyrant for the Ape colony, as he would kill everyone who wouldn't follow his rules.
  • The appearance of Koba in War of the Planet of the Apes is very similar to the appearance of Ra's al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. The two are dead and appear to the protagonists as living hallucinations that mock at their horrible current situation.


           Planet of the Apes Villains

Main Antagonists
Dr. Zaius | General Ursus | Albina | General Thade | Steven Jacobs | Koba | Colonel McCullough

Major Antagonists
General Aldo | Dr. Otto Hasslein | Governor Breck | Attar | Mendez I | Urko | Dodge Landon | Dreyfus | Red | Preacher

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