Unused Rod Serling Planet of the Apes script gets comic book adaptation

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Planet of the Apes Charlton Heston

2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the original, classic PLANET OF THE APES, which was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and based on a novel by Pierre Boulle. As part of this year's PLANET OF THE APES celebrations, 20th Century Fox Consumer Products is teaming up with comic book publisher Boom! Studios for a very interesting project: a graphic novel adaptation of an unused draft of Rod Serling's PLANET OF THE APES screenplay.

Serling shares screenplay credit with Michael Wilson on the finished film, but the creator of The Twilight Zone had worked on writing an adaptation of Boulle's novel for a couple years years before Wilson was hired. During that time, Serling wrote a handful of drafts, some of which had a very different vision of the titular planet. The draft getting the graphic novel treatment is said to be Serling's first, in which astronaut

Thomas (not Taylor) discovers an entire modern city filled with apes in a parody of contemporary life, rather than the village seen onscreen. 

The cover art by Paolo Rivera shows the lead character in this ape-populated city.

It's interesting to note that, if this is staying faithful to the early draft, the graphic novel probably won't feature the film's famous Statue of Liberty ending. The idea for that came later in the writing process, after Serling had written endings where the indication that the planet of the apes was a future Earth wasn't the Statue of Liberty but items unearthed at an archaeological dig. 

The Simpsons writer/comedian Dana Gould is writing the graphic novel adaptation, while artist Chad Lewis is basing his work on original concept art and make-up tests. Gould had this to say about the project: 

As someone who knows the original films by heart, I’m honored to present Rod Serling’s original vision to the public. It’s the world you know, yet it’s also very different — very political, very Rod Serling. For me, this is all about him.”

The graphic novel, titled Planet of the Apes: Visionaries, is scheduled to reach store shelves in August.

Source: THR

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.