Koba is an anti-hero in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the hidden main antagonist of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He is a bonobo that was used as a test subject in Gen-Sys Laboratories, causing him to develop a hatred against humans. He later joined Caesar's ape colony and became his adviser and second-in-command.
In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he is played by Christopher Gordon in motion capture. Toby Kebbell replaced Christopher Gordon in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
In his younger years, Koba lived with his mother in an ape facility, and was taught American Sign Language. After Koba's mother was beaten to death by their caregiver, Roger, Koba was sold to a TV studio run by a man named Tommy. There, Koba became aligned with another ape, Milo, and the two were taught to perform tricks for the show and were electrocuted if they failed. After low ratings resulted in the show being cancelled, a drunken Tommy took his anger out on Koba and Milo, beating them and blinding Koba in one eye with a lit cigarette. Tommy later committed suicide and Koba was captured by animal control officers and separated from Milo, being moved to several laboratories, during which Koba developed self-harming tendencies. At one point, Koba formed a bond with Gen-Sys neuroscientist Amol, who used Koba for several experiments. However, Amol's superior, Steven Jacobs fired him and confronted Koba, deriding him as an animal. Koba, finally reaching his breaking point, developed a hatred against humanity, focusing on Jacobs specifically as the source of his pain.
Rise of the Planet of the ApesEdit
Koba was transported to Gen-Sys Laboratories to test the new ALZ-113 retrovirus, and feigned docility in an attempt to get close enough to Jacobs to kill him. While the retrovirus was being administered to him, Koba saw Jacobs and shook off his breathing mask containing the retrovirus, exposing chimpanzee handler Robert Franklin. Afterwards, Koba was subjected to several intelligence tests, which revealed that the retrovirus had greatly increased his intelligence.
Some time later, Koba and the other ape test subjects were freed by a group of apes led by a chimpanzee named Caesar during the early stages of the Ape Rebellion. This act led Koba to greatly admire Caesar. Koba joined the freed apes as the crossed the Golden Gates Bridge. In order the defeat the police blockade sent to stop the apes, Caesar ordered Koba to lead the chimpanzees onto the high wire supports as part of an ambush. The plan proved a success and the apes managed to ambush the blockade, catching them off guard and forcing them to retreat. During the battle, Jacobs arrived in helicopter and ordered his men to gun down Caesar, but a gorilla, Buck, tackled the helicopter onto the bridge, an act that cost him his life.
After Caesar refused to help an injured Jacobs, Koba took his opportunity to take revenge for his mistreatment. Koba approached the helicopter and shoved it off the side of the bridge with his foot sending a screaming Jacobs plummeting to his death. Afterwards, Koba joined the other apes in the Muir Woods. Shortly afterwards, Caesar's former owner, Will Rodman, entered the woods to search for Caesar and was tackled by Koba. Before Koba could do anything else, Caesar forcibly knocked him away. Realizing he wasn't strong enough to fight Caesar, Koba retreated, but later returned to the other apes to acknowledge Caesar's leadership.
Dawn of the Planet of the ApesEdit
Ten years after having escaped into the Muir Woods, Koba is now living with the other apes in the Ape Village, and is a senior member of Caesar's Ape Council. Koba first appears during an elk hunt, leading a group of apes to help Caesar cut the herd off. Shortly afterwards, Koba rescues Caesar and his son Blue Eyes from a bear attack by spearing the bear, killing it. Upon returning to the village, Koba offers a dejected Blue Eyes words of encouragement.
After Ash, the son of one Caesar's lieutenant Rocket, is shot by a human named Carver, Koba is amongst the apes that arrives to investigate. Koba is the second ape to speak, shouting at the human group, led by a man named Malcolm, to leave. Caesar orders Koba to follow the group to discover their whereabouts, and Koba, along with two of his followers, Grey and Stone, discovers a human community living in a tower in San Francisco. Upon returning to the village, Koba converses with the Ape Council, suggesting that the apes attack the human community. Caesar rejects the idea, reasoning that going to war could result in heavy consequences. However, Caesar does lead the ape army to the human tower the next day and warns the humans to stay out of the Muir Woods.
Some time afterwards, Malcolm arrives at the Ape Village and Koba immediately suggests killing him. However, Caesar spares him and lets Malcolm explain that the human need to repair a hydroelectric dam located near the Ape Village to restore power to the city. Caesar agrees to let the humans work at the dam so that they will leave afterwards. Koba is outraged at the idea, reasoning to Caesar that letting the human restore power to the city will make them more dangerous. Caesar silently challenges Koba to continue his defiance. Realizing that he is no match for Caesar, Koba begs forgiven before leaving.
In spite of this, Koba, along with Grey and Stone, sneaks into the city the next day to spy on the humans. The three arrive at a human armory and, upon seeing the guns stationed there, believe that the humans are preparing to attack the village. Koba is caught by two humans guards, but manages to escape by acting like a harmless circus ape. The three then return to the village to warn Caesar, and are informed by Blue Eyes that Carver had attacked Caesar's second son, Milo. Enraged, Koba arrives at the dam and confronts Malcolm's son Alexander, but is stopped by an orangutan, Maurice. Koba then confronts Caesar for letting the humans stay and accuses him of loving the humans more than the apes.
Caesar, angered at Koba's accusations, attacks and severely beats him, but refrains from killing him, remembering the ape law that apes don't kill apes. Koba, humiliated, requests forgiveness, which Caesar accepts. However, Koba reneges to tell Caesar about the guns, and begins plotting against him. The next day, Koba returns to he armory and entertains the two guards by pretending to be a circus ape again, only to steal a gun and kill both of them. Afterwards, he then returns to the Muir Woods and beats Carver to death, stealing his lighter and cap. Koba then orders Grey and Stone to set the Ape Village on fire using Carver's lighter.
The apes and humans, unaware of the fire, celebrate as the dam is repaired and power is restored to the city. However, Koba, using the stolen machine gun, sneaks up towards Caesar , who notices him but isn't quick enough to react when Koba shoots him in the shoulder. Caesar plummets from the village and supposedly dies, causing the apes to panic. Koba arrives and claims that the humans are responsible for killing Caesar and setting the village aflame, and takes charge, ordering the apes to attack the human city. Amassing an ape army, Koba leads them into the city, overrunning the armory and stealing the weapons stationed there.
After taking control of the armory, Koba leads the apes on California Street, leading to a destructive gunfight between the apes and the humans. Though the apes receive heavy casualties, Koba manages to rally then by dual-wielding machine guns, which allows the apes to gain the upper hand. During the battle, Grey is killed by a tank. Koba, in response, takes control of the tank and uses it to smash down the human gates, allowing the apes to converge into the tower and capture the humans inside, though their leader, Dreyfus, escapes. By daybreak, the apes have captured and imprisoned the humans.
Koba immediately proves to be a tyrannical leader, murdering Ash for his refusal to execute an unarmed human and then imprisoning all apes loyal to Caesar in a bus, including Maurice and Rocket. Koba and the other apes then move to the top of the human tower, and Koba gives the orders for the female and young to be moved into the human city. Before they arrive, Koba is confronted by Caesar, who had survived Koba's assassination attempt. Koba declares that Caesar is weak and has no place amongst the apes. However, Caesar claims that Koba is weaker for relying on guns, to which Koba drops his machine gun and attacks Caesar for supremacy amongst the apes.
Koba initially held the upper hand due to Caesar's previous injuries, but he himself receives a massive gash on his side after Caesar knocks him into several metal poles. Caesar then begins to focus his attacks on Koba's gash, injuring him further. The battle is interrupted, however, when Dreyfus uses C4 detonators to collapse the tower, causing most of the apes to plummet from the tower. Koba survives the destruction of the tower and steals a machine gun from a trapped ape before using it to shoot at Caesar in a final attempt to kill him. However, Caesar disarms Koba and knocks him off a ledge, leaving him holding onto the ledge. Koba begs for Caesar to save him, reminding him of the law that apes don't kill apes. However, Caesar proclaims that Koba is not an ape, and drops him from the ledge, causing him to fall to his death.
Koba was the most malevolent ape in the Ape Village, psychologically unbalanced due to years of torture and abuse at the hands of humans. Even before his intelligence was increased by the ALZ-113 retrovirus, Koba held a personal vendetta against Steven Jacobs. His genetically advanced intelligence also increased his hatred against humans. Though he initially admired Caesar for freeing him, their different views caused a friction between them that evolved until they were bitter enemies.
- Koba is the first bonobo to appear in the Planet of the Apes series. Ironically, bonobos in real-life are generally friendly and gentle, whereas Koba is the most vicious ape in the Ape Village.
- Koba is named after Joseph Stalin, who used Koba as an alias before the Russian Revolution.
- At 26, Koba is the oldest known ape in the series.
- Before the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, there was some debate as to whether Koba or Dreyfus would be the main antagonist. Upon release, it was revealed that Koba was the main antagonist.
- In the official movie novelization of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Koba is referred to as One-Eye from the humans perspective.
- In general, bonobos tend to be smaller than chimpanzees. However, Koba is bigger than most of the chimpanzees in the Ape Village, though he is slightly smaller than Caesar.
- Koba dies in a similar manner to Steven Jacobs, whom he had killed in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.