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John Landon

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For the 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' character, see John Landon (CE).
John Landon
John Landon
Biographical information
Species Human
Gender Male
Born 1940[1]
Died 3978[2]
Appearances
Continuity Movies (APJ)
Actor Robert Gunner
First Appearance Planet of the Apes
Last Appearance Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes

John Landon was a human astronaut who joined the ANSA program some time in the 1960s. According to his colleague, George Taylor, Landon was an ambitious scientist who "wanted to live forever".

Along with Taylor and fellow astronauts Dodge and Stewart, Landon participated in a mission to journey to another star. The crew of the Liberty 1 (nicknamed "Icarus") launched out of Cape Kennedy in 1971 and spent over six months in outer space. Taylor, commander of the mission, placed the crew into a state of suspended animation, in preparation for the second leg of their journey. While they slept, the Icarus passed through a Hasslein Curve, a twist in space, that propelled the ship several centuries into the future. The ship crash-landed back on Earth in the year 3978. Splashing down into a stagnant salt lake, the crew revived and scurried to freedom.

Landon was an adventurer and a patriot. As such, he found it hardest of the three to come to terms with their fate and argued strongly with Taylor after their crash-landing. Taylor maintained a rigid attitude, while Dodge committed himself towards finding a means to survive on this new world. Landon meanwhile, found himself the target of Taylor's acerbic wit. Taylor even chided Landon for placing a small American flag in the sand near the lake where they crashed.

Landon's most startling surprise however, came when he discovered that this world was populated by horseback-riding, talking apes. A troupe of gorilla hunters attacked a grove of trees where several mute humans had been dwelling. Landon and the others were swept up into the hunt and Landon was captured. The gorillas brought him back to Ape City, where he was examined and later lobotomized. During Taylor's subsequent trial, he was shown Landon and became furious at what Dr Zaius had done to him. Landon is taken back to his cage, while Zaius later admits he knew Landon could talk, and had him operated on.

When Brent visited Zira and Cornelius in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Cornelius told him that Taylor nearly ended up a museum specimen "like his two friends", which suggests that Landon was also dead and displayed alongside Dodge by that point. It's possible that during a skirmish involving gorilla soldiers, Landon was shot and killed.

The 'ANSA Public Service Announcement' (a bonus feature from the Blu-Ray Planet of the Apes Box-Set released in November 2008) included this biography: "Lieutenant John Landon serves as navigator on board the Liberty 1. Distinguishing himself as navigator on ANSA's Juno Mars mission, Lieutenant Landon automatically became the prime choice for the Liberty Project. After searching their souls and weighing the sacrifice, John and his wife proudly chose to add the Lieutenant's talents to the mission. His infant son Mike will grow to manhood knowing that his father bravely conquered nothing less than time and space."

Landon's fate was further explored in Blam! Ventures illustrated novel Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. In the book, Landon had been the navigator with ANSA's Juno mission between Mars and Jupiter, during which time his colleagues Marx, Combs and Jones were all attacked by the deranged Patrick, whom Landon was forced to kill. He had an affair with the remaining crew member, Stewart. Landon enrolled in officer training in 1971 after the Juno mission. He was married to his childhood sweetheart Laura and their son was Mikey. He came under the control of the mutants while traveling through the Forbidden Zone after the crash of the Liberty 1, and found himself unable to speak to the apes until the control was loosened when he heard music. The second human to speak in Ape City, he to Dr. Milo while held captive in the laboratory of Dr. Galen, after taking Galen's wife Liet as a hostage he was recaptured by Security Chief Marcus. After sending both Marcus and Galen off a bridge to their deaths, he was quickly and secretly operated on by Dr. Zaius, leaving him to spend his remaining days as a mindless zombie.[3]

NotesEdit

  • Landon's first name is never provided in the actual movies, though Taylor calls him "John" in the shooting script for the original film.[4] He is referenced by the name "John" in the Planet of the Apes book-n-record set by Power Records and in the Marvel Comics movie adaptation.
  • Michael Wilson's final shooting script for the movie described Dodge and Landon as "thirtyish, clean-shaven, virile", while Taylor informed Landon that he was "two thousand and thirty one years old" following their voyage of two thousand years.[5] By contrast, actor Bob Gunner was 37 years old at the time of filming (or 53 according to some sources).
  • A 2007 fan-produced reproduction of the Presidential Commission's Briefing Dossier gave Landon the name 'Captain John Landon' (Mission Pilot).[6]

TriviaEdit

  • Landon's personality is closest to that of Arthur Levain in Pierre Boulle's original novel, La Planète des singes, but like Levain's colleague, Professor Antelle, Landon is discovered by Taylor alive but incapable of speech. Antelle merely reverted to a primitive state in the company of the native humans while Landon was knocked out in the ape's hunt and had brain surgery before his intelligence could be revealed.
  • The name 'Paul LaFever' is used in the earliest scripts (1964) written by Rod Serling. Originally, Serling had LaFever - a soft-spoken, introspective man in his forties - follow the same fate as Antelle by becoming a senseless animal in the company of his fellow-primitives. However, as Serling's script evolved, so LaFever' fate altered: in one version Thomas rescues him and brings him back to Earth (along with Nova); in subsequent versions he recovers some of his intelligence but receives a lobotomy at the hands of the apes, destroying his mind completely; Thomas effects a rescue, but LaFever's stupidity gets him killed in the attempt.[7] The astronaut's name was changed by Michael Wilson in his final shooting script. Serling's script treatment for an 'Apes' TV show followed on somewhat from his film scripts, with two astronauts sent to rescue Taylor's crew which included 'LaFever' (possibly a 28 to 30-year-old man, who is found to have died from a gunshot).[8]

AppearancesEdit

External LinksEdit


ReferencesEdit

Landonlobotomy Landonpower Landonmarvel

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