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The Sacred Scrolls

Cornelius I

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Doctor Cornelius
Cornelius2
Biographical information
Species Chimpanzee
Gender Male
Born Unknown
Died 1973
Appearances
Continuity Movies (APJ)
Actor (James Brolin),
Roddy McDowall,
David Watson
First Appearance Planet of the Apes
Last Appearance Escape from the Planet of the Apes
Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.
— Cornelius [reading from the Sacred Scrolls]


Dr. Cornelius was a male chimpanzee from the films Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Escape from the Planet of the Apes, based on the character of Cornélius from the original novel, La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle. He was the fiancée (later husband) of Zira and the eventual father of Milo, who would grow up to take the name Caesar.

BiographyEdit

Early life and the coming of TaylorEdit

An archeological scientist, Cornelius was reluctantly supportive of Zira's theories and views. He really would have preferred the quiet life with less controversy but deeply loved Zira and stood by her, though he did try to smooth over the confrontation with the orangutan elders and the gorilla soldiers. He himself had alarmed Zaius also by conducting digs in the Forbidden Zone, which threatened to undermine Ape society if he discovered what Zaius already knew. He was thus discouraged from further studies by the authorities. He grudgingly helped Zira to defend Taylor to the authorities and to escape subsequently but was cynical of Taylor's stories of an intelligent human race, and retained his respect for Zaius.

Leaving the Planet of the ApesEdit

After Taylor's impact on their lives and their city, Cornelius and Zira were granted clemency but Zira was still bent on her ways of oppressing the views of the likes of General Ursus. Cornelius felt embarrassed and concerned whenever they attended public meetings because of Zira's better nature towards humans, such as the rousing speech made by Ursus to travel to the Forbidden Zone in search of new growth. When Taylor's love interest Nova brought the new spaceman Brent to Cornelius and Zira's home because he was looking for Taylor and they knew him, the chimp couple helped Brent on his way to looking for the missing Taylor as well as teaching him what to do and not to do if caught by apes.

Escape from Earth's doomEdit

In the third Ape movie we were informed that Zira and Cornelius, after the visit of Brent, travelled into the Forbidden Zone to visit their friend Dr Milo, who had discovered and repaired Taylor's ship. Together the three attempted to fly it but it launched onto a fixed return path to Taylor's time and the Apes escaped just as the Alpha-Omega Bomb device destroyed the world.

Final daysEdit

Landing on Earth in 1973, the Apes were cautiously welcomed as a novelty by the bemused population. However when they accidentally revealed details of Earth's final days and Zira became pregnant with a child that could spawn an intelligent Ape race, the human authorities became suspicious and ultimately plotted the deaths of Zira, Cornelius and their son (Dr. Milo having already died). Having made friends with Lewis Dixon and Stephanie Branton, they hid themselves at Señor Armando's Circus, allowing Cornelius to help his wife delver their son.

Escaping, they were tracked down to a disused boat, where they were finally killed by Otto Hasslein despite Cornelius' attempt to defend himself and his family. The child, initially named after Milo but subsequently renamed Caesar, had been saved however, and would eventually do just what Hasslein had feared. It is unknown if Cornelius knew that Zira switched their son with another baby chimp they encountered at the Circus.

LegacyEdit

Many years later, Caesar named his own son after his father, whom he had never known because he was too young to remember them. Curious to know what his parents were like in life, Caesar travelled back to where he lead his revolt to learn of his ancestry. With help from MacDonald, Caesar accessed the city archives and watched a recording of Cornelius and Zira's interrogation, taking pride in seeing his parents and noticing the "father like son" resemblance.

In the comicsEdit

In BOOM! Studios' Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm, Cornelius' past is explored further. His research on humans was interrupted by the Anti-Vivisection Society led by Prisca, shortly before the destruction of the Moon. In the aftermath Cornelius tried to save the chimpanzee Cassia, but she was killed. He later encountered Cassia's sister Zira and her son Lucius. Zaius appointed Cornelius part of the team, with Milo and Vitus, to travel to Painted Valley in search of provisions. On his return he broke his promise to Zaius by revealing the history of Painted Valley to the chimp radicals of Ape City, but did not share their enthusiasm to stage a bloody coup. After briefly showing an interest in Timon's cult of Aleron, Cornelius helped avert an ape civil war by calming the rioting chimps. He, Zira and Lucius were telepathically urged by Milo's mutant friend to join him at the site of his repaired space craft, where Lucius was shot by the gorilla army.

NotesEdit

  • In Rod Serling's early script treatments, Cornelius was the head of the 'Fourth Northern Archeological Expedition'.[1]
  • Rock Hudson was apparently considered for the part of Cornelius,[2] though Roddy McDowall had been told about the role by Arthur P. Jacobs in person "a year before production", while on a flight back from London.[3][4]
  • Makeup artist Don Cash Sr. transformed Roddy McDowall into 'Cornelius' on the original Apes movie.[5]

TriviaEdit

  • The latter part of Cornelius and Zira's story is very similar to the situation of Merou in Pierre Boulle's original book.
  • Cornelius is the partial namesake of Cornelia, the wife of Caesar in the reboot franchise. It is possible that she was also named after the first wife of Julius Caesar, Cornelia Cinna Minor.

AppearancesEdit

Roddy McDowall makeup1
Zuma4

External LinksEdit


ReferencesEdit

James BrolinCornelius David WatsonCorneliusCorneliusgold Corneliuspower Corneliusmarvel Corneliuswithin Corneliusrider Corneliusmr

Planet of the Apes - The Original Pentalogy Series
Planet of the Apes (APJ) Movies
Planet of the Apes (1968) | Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) | Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) | Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
Main Ape Characters
Cornelius I | Zira | Caesar | Zaius | Virgil | Ursus | Aldo | Cornelius II | Lawgiver | Lisa | Mandemus | Lucius
Supporting Ape Characters
Ape cart driver | Ape with chain | Bailiff | Bugler | Busboy | Dr. Galen's assistant | Frank | Galen | Gorilla Child Gorilla marksman | Gorilla Photographer | Gorilla Sergeant | Heloise | Honorius | Hunt Leader | Julius | Marcus | Maximus | Milo | Minister | Minister (Beneath) | President of the Assembly | Quintus | Salome | Young Chimpanzee | Zelda
Main Human Characters
George Taylor | Nova (APJ) | John Brent | Albina | Lewis Dixon | Stephanie Branton | Otto Hasslein | Breck | Armando | MacDonald (Conquest) | MacDonald (Battle) | Abe the Teacher | Kolp | John Landon | Dodge
Supporting Human Characters
Announcer | Aldo's Handlers | Army Chief of Staff | Army Officer | Army Officer on beach | Arthur, Orderly at Zoo | Auctioneer | Beauty Operator | Bill, Marine Corporal | Bodyguard | Bookseller | Caesar's Handler | Captain | Cardinal | Caspay | Chairman of the President's Committee of Inquiry | Charles | Command Post Assistant | Controller 1| Controller 2 | Curator | E-1| E-2 | Fat Man | General Faulkner | Geneticist | Girl in corral | Governor Breck's Assistant | Miss Greer | Greg, General Winthrop's Aide | Helicopter Pilot | Hercules & Brunhilde | Inspector Hoskyns | Hybrid Child | Instructor | Jailguard | Jake | Jake's friend | Julie | Keeper 1 | Keeper 2 | Keeper 3 | Ladies | Maddox | Man at Auction | Sergeant Meissner | Mendez I | Mendez II | Mendez XXVI Military Officer | Morgan, Governor Breck's Assistant | Mutant Captain | Mutant on Motorcycle | Mutant Workers | Naval Officer | Navy Chief of Staff | Negro Tycoons Officer in Radio Control Room | Old Timer | Ongaro | Orderly | Police Officers (Conquest) | Policeman | 2nd Policeman | The President | Referee | Reporter | Mrs Riley | Riot Control CommanderScientist Committee Member | Senator Committee Member | Soldier | Stewart | Striking Waiter | TV Newscaster | Verger | General Winthrop
Animals
Horse (Animal) | Gorilla in Zoo
Items / Weapons
Sacred Scrolls | Alpha-Omega Bomb | Grape Juice Plus | Human Doll
Important Events / Battles
Ape Rebellion
Locations
Forbidden Zone | Statue of Liberty | Los Angeles Zoo | Ape City (Caesar's City) |Ape City (East Coast) | Queensboro Plaza
Soundtrack Music
Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) |Battle for the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Music Of The Planet Of The Apes

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