| First Appearance: Beneath the Planet of the Apes
Last Appearance: Beneath the Planet of the Apes
John Christopher Brent (1938 - 3979) was an American ANSA astronaut who at some point lived in New York City. Working alongside Colonel Maddox (Skipper), Brent piloted a reconnaissance ship that has never been named, which was assigned to trace the trajectory of Colonel George Taylor. Taylor's own space vessel had passed through a time distortion affect (known as a Hasslein Curve), and was propelled forward into the future to the late 40th century. Maddox and Brent's ship crash-landed back on Earth not far from the location where Taylor's ship crashed only ten months earlier. Analyzing the ship's time readouts, he believed that he had arrived in the year 3979. Shortly after landing, Maddox died, and Brent was forced to bury him in a shallow grave near the crash site.
Soon after, Brent came into contact with a mute human female named Nova, fleeing from whatever took Taylor. He saw that Nova was wearing Taylor's dog tags and questioned her as to his whereabouts. Nova however, was unable to understand him.
The two traveled together, and eventually made their way to Ape City. Brent was horrified to discover that the entire planet was ruled by a society of militant apes. A squad of gorilla soldiers discovered them and one of them shot Brent in the shoulder. Nova and he managed to escape, and they sought refuge in the home of Dr. Zira and her archaeologist husband, Dr. Cornelius. Upon seeing Brent, the two chimpanzees first mistook him for Taylor. Zira was astonished to find yet another talking human. She nursed Brent's gunshot wound, and Cornelius showed him a map with directions leading away from Ape City.
At Zira's insistence, Brent donned clothing more suited for contemporary humans (a tattered loincloth), and took off along with Nova. The gorilla soldiers soon captured them however, and brought them back to Ape City. Zira attempted to have the two prisoners transferred to her Animal Hospital, but gorilla leader, General Ursus, told her that they were to be used for target practice. Zira aided them in escaping custody and Brent and Nova were on the run yet again.
They continued traveling for several days – following the route indicated on Cornelius' map. Within time, they arrived at the devastated ruins of a great city. Climbing down into an underground cavern, Brent discovered that this "Forbidden Zone" was once the great metropolis known as New York City. He now realized that he was actually back on his home planet – Earth.
Brent and Nova continued to explore the ruins until they encountered a tribe of subterranean mutants. These mutants – religious zealots that worshipped a Doomsday weapon called the Alpha-Omega Bomb, took the two humans prisoner, and brought them to the hollowed out chambers of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
The elders of this mutant society wielded tremendous telepathic abilities. They prided themselves on their ability to force their enemies to destroy each other. The leader of the mutants, Mendez XXVI, interrogated Brent at length and learned about an encroaching gorilla invasion of the Forbidden Zone. When Brent refused to cooperate, Mendez and the other mutants mind-controlled him into attacking Nova. Brent nearly killed Nova, and probably would have succeeded had the mutants not released their control over him.
After gathering the information they required, they separated the two, and placed Brent into a prison cell. In a moment of rare serendipity, Brent discovered that his new cellmate was the very man he had been searching for all along – George Taylor.
A mutant jailor used his telepathic powers on the two men, forcing Taylor and Brent to fight one another. While the two struggled, another mutant guard escorted Nova across the corridor. Astonished to see her former lover once again, Nova spoke for the first time in her life. She grunted the word "Taylor". This distracted the jailor enough that he briefly relinquished his hold on Brent and Taylor. Brent attacked him, shoving him against a wall of spiked metal bars.
At the same time that Brent was escaping from his jail cell, General Ursus and his gorilla army were marching into the mutant community. Taylor and Brent managed to arm themselves and make their way down to the cathedral hall. They found that Ursus' gorillas had taken command of the cathedral and killed many of the mutants. Brent fired a shot into Ursus' chest, killing him. The other gorillas returned fire, and Brent was struck down in hail of bullets.
Brent reappeared in the comic and novel adaptations of the second movie, and in the Planet of the Apes GameBoy the central character, an astronaut named 'Ben' but based on Brent, has been sent to rescue Taylor.
- John Christopher Brent's full name is revealed in the Beneath the Planet of the Apes novelization, in the movie script, and in Marvel's comic adaptation.
- The first draft screenplay for the movie had Brent give additional details to his mutant Inquisitors: his parents "both died when I was a kid. I was raised by my grandmother... Maternal."; "I was an only child."; he was from "New York, originally."; and "by my time, I'm twenty-six."
- A 2007 fan-produced reproduction of the Presidential Commission's Briefing Dossier listed John Brent as a Mission Pilot.
- The 'ANSA Public Service Announcement' bonus feature from the Blu-Ray Planet of the Apes Box-Set (released November 2008) included this biography: "Two first alternates round out the crew [of Colonel Taylor's mission] - ... Brent, 34, and Colonel Skipper Donovan, 38."
- John Brent is not to be confused with Ronald Brent, a character featured in the animated series Return to the Planet of the Apes. It is possible that Ronald is an analog to John from a divergent timeline.
- The March, 1973 edition of Mad Magazine lampooned the Planet of the Apes franchise in issue #157. The character Brent was re-named Brunt.
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes (comic)
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes (novel)
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Power Records)
- Planet of the Apes Magazine: Beneath the Planet of the Apes
- Adventures on the Planet of the Apes: Beneath the Planet of the Apes
- UbiSoft/Fox Interactive’s 'Planet Of The Apes' GameBoy (as 'Ben')
- Brent article at Wikipedia
- Presidential Commission's Briefing Dossier at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
- ↑ Beneath the Planet of the Apes; Upon discovering the ruins of New York City, Brent remarks "I used to live here." While he may have been indicating the planet Earth in general, it appears as if he was speaking specifically of New York City.
- ↑ Brent's time readout contradicts information supplied in Planet of the Apes. See the Speculation Talk page for more details.
- ↑ Avallone, Michael; "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" (novelization), chapter 9, pp. 77; Bantam Books, 1970
- ↑ Planet of the Apes Revisited - First Draft Screenplay at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Scripts Archive
- ↑ Presidential Commission's Briefing Dossier at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive