The 1968 Planet of the Apes has rightfully gone down as a cinema classic, spawning numerous sequels, two TV series, and a recent video game. But the film started out looking quite different, with a script by Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling set in a completely different world to the primitive one seen in the films.
That original screenplay is now set to be adapted into its own graphic novel, Planet of the Apes: Visionaries, by Boom! Studios and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products. The Simpsons’ Dana Gould* and Avengers: Origins’ Chad Lewis will adapt the script, using original concept art and makeup tests as a starting point for the visual design.
Serling’s script was ultimately rejected due to budgetary concerns, which obviously are less of an issue when dealing with a graphic novel. It was set in a more modern world, akin to then-contemporary human society, and would have required larger, more ornate sets than the simple structures in the film. Though the basic structure of the story was retained, the specifics and characters were altered - and the fact we’ll now get to see a fully-realised version of the script (albeit in a different medium) is very exciting.
Says noted Apes maniac Gould: "It's the world you know, yet it's also very different — very political, very Rod Serling." Adds Lewis: "Mr. Serling's original vision, as told by Dana, really took some great chances both visually and narratively. The end result is a wholly unique story that was a blast to illustrate."
This project is actually super-similar to The Star Wars, a graphic novel that launched in 2014, based on an early draft of George Lucas’ Star Wars screenplay. A number of such “unseen versions” scripts exist out there, and there’s great potential in comic adaptations of them. 20th Century Fox, for example, could feasibly release three different Alien 3 comics with the same concept, based on William Gibson’s, David Twohy's, and Vincent Ward’s versions of the sequel. Hint, hint.
Planet of the Apes: Visionaries will launch in August.
* Dr. Zaius, Dr. Zaius, etc.