|First Appearance||Planet of the Apes|
|Last Appearance||Beneath the Planet of the Apes|
|“||I can't help thinking that somewhere in the universe, there has to be something better than man. Has to be.||”|
A cynical misfit who is happy to leave the twentieth century forever in the belief that he can find something more humane and civilised in another place or another time. Yet even he seems shocked to discover what mankind has done to itself. He is captured and treated as an animal by the apes in the first movie, and by the mutants in the second movie. He is ultimately shot by ape soldiers and with his final breath sets off the Alpha-Omega bomb, destroying the world.
George Taylor was a male human born some time in the late 1920s or early 30s.  Very little is known of Taylor's youth aside from the fact that he attended elementary school in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Taylor was a graduate of Westpoint in 1941. he then went to be an "Ace fighter pilot" in World War II and the Korean War. He eventually became the first candidate of ANSA's astronaut corps. As an adult, Taylor grew embittered with the world around him. He despised his fellow man, and felt that they were capable of little more than waging war against one another. This inborn cynicism may have influenced his decision to join the ANSA program.
As a scientist and astronaut, Taylor achieved the rank of Colonel and was placed in charge of a special mission aboard the exploratory vessel, the Liberty 1. It was his hope that the universe contained life on other planets – life that was superior to that found on Earth.
Launching from Cape Kennedy in January 1972, Taylor's crew, which consisted of fellow astronauts, Dodge, Stewart and Landon, traveled into the reaches of deep space. Their mission was the first to explore another star. Six months into their mission, the crew placed themselves into a state of suspended animation. Taylor administered a special drug to keep them sedated, and then confined them all to special stasis pods aboard the ship.
While the crew slept, the vessel was propelled two-thousand years into the future, confirming Dr. Hasslein's theory of time in a vehicle travelling near the speed of light. The vessel crash-landed in a lake back on Earth, somewhere near the ruins of old New York City. An emergency alert claxon activated, and Taylor, Dodge and Landon revived. Stewart however, had died during the journey due to an unforeseen air leak. While Dodge and Landon grabbed emergency supplies and evacuated the sinking ship, Taylor looked at the time readout on the ship's log. The year was 3978.
The three men leapt into a raft, and paddled to the shoreline. All of them believed that they had actually landed on some far away world. Even Taylor hadn't begun to guess that they had really returned to Earth. Landon and Taylor exchanged a few terse words with one another while Dodge tested the soil. Taylor felt that Landon was an ambitious idealist, and laughed heartily as he watched his fellow astronaut place a small American flag into the arid soil.
Before long, all three of them found vegetation and a tribe of savage humans. Taylor was the first to notice that the furtive natives were mute. They attempted to mingle with the humans and managed to forage some fruit and corn, but within minutes a shrill horn bleated across the field.
To his horror, Taylor noticed a squad of armed horseback riding gorillas thundering across the plane. Everyone ran for cover, but the gorilla hunters quickly overtook them. Dodge was shot, and Landon was captured. Taylor tried to flee the hunter's nets, but a gorilla soldier fired a rifle shot at him, which tore across his throat. Taylor fell backwards off of a small cliff into a pool of water.
As the hunt concluded, the gorillas gathered up the surviving humans and brought them back to their settlement at Ape City. Taylor was brought to the Animal Hospital run by the Ministry of Science for his wounds to be treated.
Animal psychologist Doctor Zira and her assistant Doctor Galen dressed his wound, but it would be some time before Taylor would be able to speak again. This came as no great surprise to his captors, as humans were incapable of articulating in this future time era. Zira placed Taylor in a cage under the watchful eye of a gorilla keeper named Julius. At this time, Taylor met another surviving captive of the hunt – an attractive dark-haired female whom he named Nova.
Zira took particular interest in Taylor, and even provided him with the nickname "Bright Eyes". Taylor tried to communicate with her, but his throat injury prevented him from articulating. Frustrated, he reached through the bars of his cage, grabbing Zira's notebook and pencil. Julius repelled him with his truncheon, but when Zira recovered the notepad, she found the words "My name is Taylor" written across it.
After sending Julius away, Zira brought Taylor into her private study. She contacted her fiancée, the archaeologist Cornelius, and told him what had occurred. Initially, Cornelius felt that Taylor merely had a knack for mimicry, but within moments he proved his intellect beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Zira addressed her findings to the Science Minister Doctor Zaius. Zaius dismissed her claims that Taylor was a human gifted with an ape's intelligence, and had both Nova and he relocated to the stockade. Once again, Taylor attempted to prove his identity. He scrawled his name on the dirt floor of the stockade, but another mute prisoner disrupted him, resulting in a small scuffle. Zaius took note of Taylor's writing and quickly erased the words before anyone else could see them.
Before long however, Taylor escaped from his prison confinement. He raced through the thoroughfare of Ape City, desperate to evade capture from the gorilla militia. Taking a shortcut through a natural science museum, he found the remains of his colleague, Dodge, stuffed and encased in a glass display case. A posse of soldiers waylaid him at a bridge, scooping Taylor up into one of their hunting nets. By this point, Taylor's throat had healed enough for him to finally speak, and he violently voiced his admonition.
The revelation of a talking human sent shockwaves throughout the ape settlement. Officials brought him back to the Animal Hospital where he was caged and looked upon as a biological oddity. Doctor Zira, thrilled with the idea of a talking human, did her best to shield Taylor from further abuse, but she was unable to prevent the jailer, Julius, from punishing the Earth man at every given turn. Julius took great delight in pummeling Taylor with water from a fire hose, declaring him a "Freak".
Doctor Zaius decided to hold an official inquest in order to determine Taylor's future. The science ministry, consisting of the President of the Assembly, Doctor Maximus, and the prosecutor, Doctor Honorius interrogated Taylor at length, pressing him for the truth behind his origins. Doctor Zira and Cornelius were permitted to speak on Taylor's behalf, but were unable to satisfy the prejudicial orangutan panel. The assembly concluded that Taylor was a mutant, and that he was to be gelded, experimented upon and ultimately executed. Moments after the tribunal commenced, Doctor Zaius brought Taylor into his private office. He confessed to an awareness of mankind’s origins and dreaded the day that he might one day return.
Meanwhile, Doctor Zira, aware of what was to become of Taylor contacted her young nephew, Lucius. Lucius went to the Animal Hospital late at night and assisted Taylor in disabling the keeper, Julius. Free from his cell once again, Taylor insisted that Nova was to come with them. Lucius was apprehensive, but ultimately acquiesced.
The three fled the city and traveled East towards an area known as the Forbidden Zone. There, they met up with Cornelius and Zira who supplied him with a fresh horse, a gun and supplies. They took momentary shelter in a cave at Cornelius' archeological dig.
Doctor Zaius and a gorilla cavalry quickly tracked them down with orders to kill Taylor on sight. He also declared that Cornelius and Zira were to be charged with scientific heresy. Zaius entered the cavern where Cornelius showed him evidence that human beings once ruled this world – a fact that repudiated nearly every religious tenant set forth within the Sacred Scrolls (the ape equivalent to a Christian Bible).
Taylor decided that it was now time to put this topsy-turvy society behind him. He tied Doctor Zaius to a rock, while Lucius kept the gorilla soldiers at bay with a shotgun. Saying goodbye to Zira and Cornelius, he rode off with Nova in search of his destiny.
Taylor and Nova rode along the shoreline for several miles, trekking deeper into the regions along the perimeter of the Forbidden Zone. Taylor found the half-buried ruins of the Statue of Liberty, and realized that he had been on Earth this entire time. Overwhelmed with shock and anger, he theorized that the people of his own time must have destroyed the world through nuclear Armageddon. With no hope of ever returning to the world he knew, George Taylor, who once despised his fellow human beings, was now the custodian of the human race.
It was his intention to establish a new life for himself with Nova. Taylor even tried to teach Nova how to speak. During this time, Nova became pregnant with Taylor’s child (see also 'Notes' below). 
As time passed, Taylor and Nova journeyed deeper into the Forbidden Zone. The Forbidden Zone was a grey wasteland of ash and debris – the skeletal remains of what was once New York City. Little did Taylor realize however, was that the Zone was also occupied by a subspecies of telepathic human mutants. Using their mental powers of illusion, they captured Taylor and held him prisoner. Nova managed to escape and rode Taylor’s horse back towards Ape City.
She eventually encountered another time-lost astronaut from Taylor's era – John Brent. Brent learned that Nova knew of Taylor and eventually found his way into the Forbidden Zone. The commune of mutants captured Brent and placed him within the same prison cell as Taylor. A mutant jailor used his telepathic powers to force Taylor and Brent to fight one another. Nova managed to inadvertently distract the guard, and Taylor and Brent escaped.
At this time, ape military leader General Ursus learned of the existence of the mutants, and convinced Doctor Zaius to invade the Forbidden Zone. The gorilla soldiers raided the mutants' church (in the ruins of St. Patrick's Cathedral), killing scores of mutants, as well as Nova.
Taylor and Brent found the worship hall where the mutants possessed a Doomsday device called the Alpha-Omega Bomb. They engaged in a gun battle with the gorilla soldiers, but were both struck down by return fire. Bleeding from a mortal gunshot wound, Taylor stumbled towards the altar where he encountered Zaius. He pleaded with Zaius to help him, who in turn merely scoffed, declaring that mankind was capable of nothing but destruction. As Taylor died, his body slumped upon the launch controls of the Alpha-Omega Bomb, detonating the weapon and destroying the entire planet.
Taylor reappeared in the comic and novel adaptations of the first two movies, and he was referenced in the Planet of the Apes GameBoy, where the introduction tells us that astronaut "Ben" has been sent to rescue him.
- In the credits of Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Heston's character is credited only as Taylor. His first name, George, was revealed in the credits of Planet of the Apes, Planet of the Apes Final Production Information Guide, and on a Topps trading card.
- The physical representations of Taylor vary dependent upon the medium. In the Marvel Comics movie adaptations featured in Adventures on the Planet of the Apes, Taylor has curly, dark brown hair. In the adaptations featured in the Power Records book-n-record sets, Taylor is perpetually clean-shaven, and has a full head of bushy blonde hair. They were legally prevented from using the image of Charlton Heston in their comic adaptations.
- Originally, there was much confusion over the fate of Taylor/Thomas. Rod Serling's first scripts had retained Pierre Boulle's plot from his novel; wherein Thomas would return to his own planet and discover it also run by apes. After the concept that the planet was in fact Earth, Serling had Thomas blindly blasting into space to an unknown destination (much like Mérou leaving Earth for the second time). From there, Serling added increasingly downcast revisions to the ending: Thomas cannot fly the ship without the rest of his crew; Thomas resignedly joins the primitive human tribe in the jungle; and finally, Thomas sees the Statue of Liberty, freezes, and is shot dead. Michael Wilson kept Taylor's death at the Statue in his script aswell, up until filming began. Director Franklin J. Schaffner recalled "There was a debate for a long time whether or not Taylor should live after seeing the Statue of Liberty. It seemed to me - as an optimist and one who wants to play fair with an audience - that the man must survive. If he dies in the end there is no reason to tell this story. But 'Planet' went through more discussions in more areas than any picture I have been on - it had to, for there were so many technical and creative problems." Charlton Heston noted the script change in his diary entry for May 16, 1967: "I think Frank's new ending on 'Apes' is very good... Taylor doesn't die, now; he finds the Statue of Liberty, and knows where he is. Fade-out."
- In the final shooting script, it was to be revealed that Nova was bearing Taylor's child, with the pregnancy dialogue remaining in the script as late as 15 June 1967: "In the penultimate drafts of 'PLANET OF THE APES', Nova (Linda Harrison) was pregnant With Taylor's (Charlton Heston) child. In this version, Taylor was killed by the bullet of an ape sniper just after he sees the Statue of Liberty. But Nova escapes, vanishing into the Forbidden Zone beyond the Statue of Liberty. The meaning is clear: if her unborn child is a male and grows to manhood, the species will survive. If not, modern man becomes extinct. Such an ending left open the possibility of a sequel long before sequels were discussed. Nova's pregnancy was deleted from the film, I'm told, at the insistence of a high-echelon Fox executive who found it distasteful. I suppose that if one defines the mute Nova as merely 'humanoid' and not actually human, it would mean that Taylor had committed sodomy." - Michael Wilson The scene was included when Marvel Comics adapted the movie from that script, but had the dialogue altered just before publication. However, the following year the strips were re-printed in colour in Marvel's Adventures on the Planet of the Apes comics with the original 'pregnancy' dialogue restored, probably by mistake.
- The 'ANSA Public Service Announcement' bonus feature from the Blu-Ray Planet of the Apes Box-Set (released November 2008) included this biography: "Colonel George Taylor leads the team into space. West Point graduate, class of '41, ace fighter pilot in both World War II and the Korean War, Colonel Taylor became the first candidate of ANSA's elite astronaut corps. When asked why he would leave behind the world he knew to explore the vastness of deep space, he answered simply, "For the promise of a better world."
- Two separate comic lines have included stories involving daughters of George Taylor: Malibu Graphics story 'Planet of the Apes: Ape City' told the tale of Jo Taylor; while MR Comics' story 'Paternal Instinct' concerned Tammy Taylor.
- The character of George Taylor was played by actor Charlton Heston. Marlon Brando was originally considered as a possibility for the role. Before Heston signed to play the astronaut hero, John Wayne was among those considered by the producers, who ultimately decided he was too much identified with Westerns.
- Heston, Oscar-winning star of Ben-Hur and El Cid, committed to the film within an hour of hearing the pitch, on 5 June 1965. He identified with the role of Taylor: "As much as any character I have ever played, Taylor reflects my own views about mankind. I have infinite faith and admiration for the extraordinary individual man - the Gandhi, the Christ, the Caesar, the Michelangelo, the Shakespeare - but very limited expectations for man as a species. And that, of course, was Taylor's view. And the irony of a man so misanthropic that he almost welcomes the chance to escape entirely from the world finding himself then cast in a situation where he is spokesman for his whole species and forced to defend their qualities and abilities - it was a very appealing thing to act."
- In pre-production, Taylor's original name was going to be John (or Johnny) Thomas. Charlton Heston appeared as this character in the 1966 Screen Test, alongside Edward G. Robinson as Zaius, and with James Brolin as Cornelius and Linda Harrison as Zira. The name was only changed as filming approached - a Michael Wilson script dated 5 May 1967 contained the name 'Thomas', with only revisions made in June changing the name to 'Taylor'. Indeed, the 'Production Information Guide' published on 29 January 1968 to promote the upcoming movie mistakenly used the name 'Thomas' in it's synopsis.
- Thomas in turn was based on/inspired by Ulysse Mérou, the protagonist of Pierre Boulle's original novel, La Planète des singes. Taylor's fate remained largely unchanged, except that in the original book he is a journalist accompanying the mission, rather than it's leader, and he ultimately escapes back to Earth from an alien ape planet. He discovers that Earth has meantime been taken over by apes too.
- Johnny Thomas' crew in the earliest scripts (1964) written by Rod Serling were 'Paul LaFever', 'Dodge' and the deceased 'Blake'. Serling's script treatment for an 'Apes' TV show followed on somewhat from these scripts, with two astronauts sent to rescue Taylor's crew which included (another) 'Thomas', 'LaFever' and 'Bengsten', who are all found to have died and been buried, along with 'Zira'.
- Taylor is not to be confused with George Taylor, one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence.
- Associate producer Mort Abrahams felt Charlton Heston's self-invented "God damn you all to hell", as opposed to the script's "My God" might result in the film being classified as unsuitable for children, but was overruled.
- Originally, the studio heads at 20th Century Fox wanted actor Charlton Heston to return as the starring role in Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Heston didn't want to commit to a sequel, but agreed to make a brief appearance so long as his character was killed off early in the film. After several script drafts, it was decided that Taylor's character would function as a framing sequence for the second film. He appeared briefly in the beginning of the movie, where he falls into the Mutant trap, and returns towards the end of the film for the movie's climax. Heston: "Fox is now willing to accept my proposal to do a brief transition bit for them in their new version of APES. I don't think it's a good idea, but of course I'll carry out my promise to them. I pointed out to Dick Zanuck that, while I sympathized with him from a corporate point of view, as an actor there was really no sequel possible. The only story you could tell had been told; anything further would just be adventures among the monkeys. While this might well be profitable, there was nothing new to act in it. Still, as Dick said, they couldn't really undertake a sequel if I weren't in it at all. Moved by this wistful observation, I offered to appear in the opening sequence, if they'd then kill me off." Heston donated his salary from Beneath the Planet of the Apes to charity.  The original storyline for Taylor was later adapted for the character of John Brent.
- It was Heston's idea for his character to destroy the Earth at the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. He believed that by destroying the entire planet, it would stave off future sequels. Heston: "They asked me to simply disappear in the opening sequence, and be killed off in the end. I agreed, thinking I could end the whole thing with a death that included the end of the world. I sold them on this, but they were cleverer than I; they still made several sequels, though without me." Originally, the Taylor character was to intentionally detonate the Alpha-Omega Bomb, but the script was slightly altered so that Taylor instead sets the bomb off accidentally.
- DC Comics also created a character named George Taylor, but this earlier version has nothing in common with the character from Planet of the Apes. The DC Taylor was the editor of a metropolitan newspaper called The Daily Star (later renamed The Daily Planet). In the Golden Age continuity commonly referred to as Earth-Two, Taylor was the employer of reporters Clark Kent and Lois Lane. He was eventually removed from continuity and replaced by Perry White.
- Taylor is an analog to Bill Hudson, the blonde-haired, lead astronaut from the Return to the Planet of the Apes animated series. Whereas the movie version of Dr. Zira referred to Taylor as "Bright-Eyes", the animated Zira took to calling Bill Hudson, "Blue-Eyes".
- The March, 1973 edition of Mad Magazine lampooned the Planet of the Apes franchise in issue #157. The character Taylor was re-named Tyler.
- Planet of the Apes
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes (comic book)
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes (novel)
- Planet of the Apes (Power Records)
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Power Records)
- Escape from the Planet of the Apes (archival footage only)
- Planet of the Apes Magazine: Planet of the Apes (issues #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 & #6)
- Planet of the Apes Magazine: Beneath the Planet of the Apes
- Adventures on the Planet of the Apes: Planet of the Apes (issues #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 & #6)
- Adventures on the Planet of the Apes: Beneath the Planet of the Apes
- Taylor article at Wikipedia
- Presidential Commission's Briefing Dossier at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
- ↑ Age is based on relative age of actor Charlton Heston in correlation to the launch date of the Icarus.
- ↑ ANSA Public Service Announcement - Planet of the Apes pentalogy blu-ray release (2008)
- ↑ As revealed in Behind the Planet of the Apes, a scene from the original Planet of the Apes movie was shot which revealed that Nova was pregnant. Feeling as if the scene would disrupt the dramatic flow of the movie's climax, the producers decided to excise it from the final cut. While Nova’s pregnancy is not recognized within the canonical continuity of the Arthur P. Jacobs films, there is nothing established within either film which contradicts the possibility of her carrying a child.
- ↑ 'Films In Review' interview, conducted January 1969
- ↑ 'The Actor's Life' by Charlton Heston
- ↑ Final Shooting Script at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
- ↑ 'Marvel's Planet of the Apes', USA Issue 2 (October 1974)
- ↑ Planet of the Apes Trivia at IMDb
- ↑ Charlton Heston Talks About Science Fiction, by Don Shay - 'Fantastic Films' (February 1980)
- ↑ Planet of the Apes Trivia at the Forbidden Zone
- ↑ The Planet of the Apes Chronicles by Paul A. Woods (Page 45)
- ↑ Final Production Information Guide at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
- ↑ Hunter's Planet of the Apes Scripts Archive
- ↑ 'The Actor's Life' by Charlton Heston
- ↑ Behind the Planet of the Apes
- ↑ 'The Actor's Life' by Charlton Heston