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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 minor antagonist 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, vindictive, deceitful and selfish 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 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 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.

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.

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 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 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Koba can be considered the closest thing the films will ever get to a Big Bad so far.

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

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
The Giant Claw 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