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Koba

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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.

Koba is an anti-hero in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the hidden main antagonist of the blockbuster sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He is an aggressively violent and sadistic Bonobo ape who is considered to be a dark counterpart to the main protagonist, Caesar, whom he initially respected.

He was formerly friends but later the arch-nemesis of Caesar for Koba's betrayal and his devilish attempts to destroy the human race.

In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he was played by Christopher Gordon in motion capture. Toby Kebbell replaced Christopher Gordon in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, who also portrayed Doctor Doom in Fant4stic and Drake Stone in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Background

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 the abuse he received, Koba developed a strong hatred for humans, mainly towards Steven Jacobs, the greedy head of Gen-Sys.

Experimentation

Koba-rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes

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

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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.

10 years after the outbreak of the ALZ-113 virus a.k.a the Simian Flu, Koba is now living with Caesar in the ape colony, where he acts as an advisor 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. Caesar disagrees, feeling war will do more harm than good, 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 asks 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 and steals one of the guard's rifles while they are distracted and kills them with it. 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 ruthless and cruel leader to humans and apes alike. This is shown when he kills Ash in front of everyone by throwing him off a balcony for refusing to kill an unarmed man as it wouldn't have been what Caesar wanted. He furthers his cruelty by forcing all the captured humans into cages and imprisoned other apes, including Caesar's other advisors 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 begins his showdown with Caesar

"Caesar brother to HUMANS! Koba fight for apes! FREE APES!!!"
"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.

Koba's death

Koba falling to his presumed, but unconfirmed death

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 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 treacherous bonobo falling onto a damaged crane after hitting a connecting wire, which then collapses into the deep, smoking shaft with Koba still on it. 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.

Personality

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

Koba was a ruthless, sadistic, and treacherous ape. He also 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 humans killed Caesar. When in power, Koba was a down-right 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 extremely brave, 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 arrogant, scorning Caesar to his face, going so far as to label him as weak, and also believing that he fought to free the Apes, when he actually fought for himself. His arrogance was to the point of hypocrisy, in that when he had his life in Caesar's hands at the end of the movie, 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 showed redeemable qualities such as compassion 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.

It's not until the end where Koba reveals his true nature; a remorseless psychopath 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, 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.

Abilities

Koba was an exceptionally skilled 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 and deceptive 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 presumed 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.

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Trivia

  • Koba was a nick-name 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 & 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, bad-tempered, 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 cruelest and most 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, that could been another injured ape.  It is also speculated that he will return in the third film and exact revenge on Caesar.
  • Koba shares some similarities to Scar from a film that they both came out in the year '4 (Scar: 1994 and Koba: 2014):
    • Both were uncles to their honorary nephews (Blue Eyes/Simba).
    • Both have a hatred to the leader of their clans (Caesar/Mufasa)
    • Both take major control of their clans, also starting a war in the process.
    • Both eventually try to kill their clan leader, however Scar actually succeeded, but was killed by his successor.
    • Both are Complete Monsters.
  • Koba also has similarities to Sgorr:
    • Both started of as a loyal servant, but betrayed and usurped the leadership role from them. Sgorr however succeeded.
    • Both desire to rule over every member of their species(Apes and Deer) and will kill any who resist them
    • Both had rough back stories, Koba was an experiment subject, Sgorr was an outcast from his herd.
    • Both of their rough back stories do not excuse the horrible deeds they have done and eventually become Complete Monsters.
    • The differences between Koba and Sgorr include the fact that Sgorr was never altered by humans(Seeing as he lives in early Medieval Scotland). In addition, while Koba despises Humanity, Sgorr is amazed by them and desires to make deer as cruel as humans are.
  • Koba also has similarities to Mewtwo from the Pokemon anime
    • Both have a deep hatred for humans due to being experimented by them.
    • Both of them rebelled against their human masters.
    • Both desire to get rid of the human race.
    • Both also have a desire to get rid of their arch-rivals (Caesar/Mew)
    • Both want their species rule above others.
    • Both of their actions have caused human casualties (Though for Mewtwo his casualty was revived)
    • Despite their similarities they share one key difference that separates them entirely.  Mewtwo started out as the main villain in his debut, but eventually learns that not all humans are evil and helps them fight his creator/tormenter in his next appearance, thus becoming an Anti-Hero and overall a better being.  Koba on the other hand starts off as an Anti-Hero helping the protagonist fight his tormenter of that film, but by the next film Koba let his hatred for humans consume him, never learning what Mewtwo learned, and becomes worse than the humans that mistreated him, thus becoming the main villain of the film and a Complete Monster.  Overall, Mewtwo could have become like Koba if he let his hatred for humans consume him.
  • Koba is very similar to Brutus, the Roman antagonist in the Assassination of Julius Caesar because Brutus betrays his wise leader and stabs him to death. Although Koba does not kill Caesar upon shooting him, he literally stabs Caesar in the back. Caesar's name being Caesar in the first place heightens the similarity between Julius Caesar/Brutus and Koba/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." As it turns out, Koba is indeed the main antagonist of the film.
  • Koba also similar with Mako Sharks in Deep Blue Sea as all of them are mistreated via experiments done as means to cure Alzheimer, and once their intelligence amplified, they ultimately became smarter enough to scheming their revenge on their tormentors.

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