(photo is an edit from Mark Talbot-Butler's collection)
After 14 episodes, the POTA TV series ended with no finale and no sense of closure for the fans. The Yahoo POTADG (POTA Discussion Group) was asked this question: "How do you think the series should have ended, or how would you have liked it to end?"
Here’s what they said.
I've never thought that the astronauts might get back home. Given that they are constantly being found by those pesky gorillas, I wonder if one of them might have been killed eventually, leaving the other to settle down in a compatible human village.
I like to think that Galen might have made it back to visit Landa (of the Battle of Two Worlds story from the TV series record), perhaps with Burke & Virdon too, and settle down in her unique village of apes and humans.
I figure that maybe the three of them escape the mainland to a large island that is exclusively human that the apes can't find (mostly because I've never seen an ape in a boat—okay, except for 'Escape'). Perhaps they came across a human from the island and were invited, or found the boat and charts after that person was killed by the apes.
This, of course, wouldn't happen until after a narrow escape from the apes (and lots of them!)
Galen, after awhile, possibly goes back to the mainland to live, knowing he'd be less conspicuous traveling without two humans, and would be able to live a halfway normal life. But they'd get together for holidays and stuff like that just to chit chat and slam beers.
Yes, it should've ended after a five-year run.
I think the TV series should have ended the way the original Boulle book and POTA 2001 did:
Virdon and Burke make it home, but when they land the find that their world has already been taken over by apes.
This would have given the series a bit of irony similar to the original films.
First off I would say that for me there are two distinct answers - 1: How I would EXPECT the series to ended and 2: How I would have LIKED it to have ended.
The POTA `legacy' isn't really known for `and they all lived happily ever after' endings. I think a `realistic' ending, in keeping with tradition might have gone something like this:
Virdon, Burke and Galen continue in the manner to which we became accustomed for a few more years until something tragic happens - I.e one of them is inevitably captured and perhaps killed. I think given his ties this would most likely have been Galen - Hey, I love the character as much as the next guy but let's mourn his loss and move on.
So Galen is killed - this acts as a catalyst, angry and outraged Virdon and Burke abandon their `no violence' policy. I imagine Burke would crack first and seek revenge of some kind. Virdon would probably be more hesitant but eventually he too would be drawn into spearheading an `uprising' against the apes. (No not the apes - but rather the powers that be - Virdon would want to bring about a new era of co-existence - Burke would just want blood) This would bring the two into conflict and maybe lead to a fork in their path. Both begin to recruit and train their respective armies with Virdon as more of a `liberator' and Burke a `conqueror'
After some initial `Braveheart' style successes the superior apes forces would eventually muster and begin to regain the upper hand. This would lead to a last and ultimate battle between ape and man that will decide the future of the planet.
It is on that day that Virdon and Burke would realise that they must put their differences aside and unite once more. The scene is set, hundreds of thousands of Ape Calvary against a smaller but surprisingly better trained force of human `freedom fighters' The fight would be epic but unfortunately for Virdon and Burke we are talking `Battle of the Little Big Horn'
We KNOW how it ends -
because we've all seen the world
So how would I have LIKED it to have ended. The adventures would have continued in the manner to which we became accustomed - new writers would have introduced a more solid science fiction ‘core' to the stories. A new `arc' in which the three find evidence of a `sanctuary' type place and go in search of it would lead them ever further afield and we would discover what happened in other parts of America.
And how would it end? In mystery - Maybe with the three, healthy and well, each with a female interest getting on board a majestic sailing ship about to go and explore across the sea.
`What will they find out there Doctor?"
I like the one where Burke escapes back the 20th Century and becomes a star on Broadway;-)
I would have Virdon and Burke unable to leave and have to somehow adapt to living as humans on a planet ruled by the apes. I would have liked more stories involving cultural conflict, relationships and solving problems.
I think in the 2nd year or so they should've found one of those cities with the info (a la "The Legacy") and used it as the series progressed. If some astronauts arrived before them, some more could've after and they could've used the ship to get back. The last episode takes place in their own time; maybe Galen goes back with them, like "Escape". And Pete gets to open his bar.
That's perfect! I rock!
How about at the end Ron Harper wakes-up as Lt. Craig Garrison and realizes it was all a bad dream.
I like Matt's idea, too, of how to end the series. At this point such an ending would not be a surprise, but it would be fitting. Problem is, it fits in more with the movies than the tv series which was more upbeat. I would like to see Virdon and Burke living happily ever after, personally, but I could get into the drama and meaning of one of those classic 'doomsday' endings. And what about Galen? Would he be curious enough to go with them, or would he stay home and hide away from Urko forever?
...end it with them returning and the apes have taken over and that's the punch line again (as in the book and POTA2001). Or the series could end with them actually finding happiness on the POTA (friends, family, a life), maybe even shunning a return home. That would be an ironic ending.
OK then how about this, they finally find a human with a computer. It turns out to be Charlton Heston who just looks at them, shakes his head in disappointment and slaps them both.
Maybe, if the TV Series was a parallel universe then, to end the series, Galen could come back with Virdon and Burke to "their time." Probably that lone dog in the series was a carrier. Not knowing, they brought the pup back with them when they came.
I haven't worked this all out yet...
…but aside from the How? question of Virdon and Burke returning to their own time (pocket of humans with advanced technology, rescue ship from the 20th century, DeLorean hidden in a cave) there's the larger question of just what do they do when they get home. Do they try to warn humanity about man's eventual downfall and the rise of the apes? They would have a moral obligation to the human race to prevent the downfall of humanity, correct? But what about their moral obligation to Galen and the all the people who's lives they impacted in the future? By undermining the fall of man/rise of apes they would erase those lives from existence. That would be a tough thing to live with, I think.
Yes, I realize that the above requires a circular timeline for the TV series, but lacking a way to prove/disprove whether or not time is circular or branches into parallel universes, I would think it would weigh on both Virdon and Burke that if they take steps to prevent the fall of man and the rise of apes once they return to their own time, they would probably wipe their friend Galen from existence.
Of course, we don't know that aged Galen is telling the truth or not. He may be covering for Virdon and Burke, who are actually settled in a colony somewhere.
I think it is agreed here that fans really think it sux that there was no closure to the TV Series…..it is interesting how Roddy or his writer knew that and did something about it (in the clips Roddy did for the tv movies as an older Galen).
Suppose they all come back to Virdon & Burke's time. (Galen, Virdon, and Burke.) They land in the middle of a riot/war somewhere in the world. We see newspaper clips or hear a radio news broadcast and know that something MAJOR is brewing. (Maybe some apes are being used to find land mines or confuse troops. They are interspersed throughout, but this is not about apes. This is about humans.) Virdon and Burke try to hide Galen, to protect him. All wars are about hatred and name-calling, and this one is no different.
[Story line about hiding Galen, finding safety, finding food, etc. They find a "safe" place in an abandoned building. Dead men are seen on the floors, guns in hand or by their sides.)
The guys get shot by a young, angry, sniper/soldier who finds them and, well, it's obvious that they are dying. Galen is confused. Angry. He takes the weapon from a mobster/soldier lying dead nearby. He has the opportunity to strike back.
[Story line about Galen leaving the "safe" place to take revenge on the man who killed his friends. He is ready to shoot when the man turns and forces Galen to retreat back into the building.)
He stands. Raises his weapon. He is teary eyed and alone. The attacker looks on, surprised by his human-ness. Galen looks out over the small, diverse group of fighters dead at his feet. He sees Virdon and Burke lying on the floor. He lowers his weapon. He speaks. Quietly. Clearly. Profound words of peace. He speaks of his time. The Apes.
The young attacker lowers his weapon. Removes his bandana/uniform jacket/armband. Galen has convinced one young person that killing others is wrong.
Slowly Galen fades. The future has changed. He never will exist.
Or a somewhat changed ending…
AS BEFORE: He stands. Raises his weapon. He is teary eyed and alone. The attacker looks on, surprised by his human-ness. Galen looks out over the small, diverse group of fighters dead at his feet. He sees Virdon and Burke lying on the floor. He lowers his weapon. He speaks. Quietly. Clearly. Profound words of peace. He speaks of his time. The Apes.
ALTERNATE ENDING…The young attacker lowers his weapon. He drops it to the floor between where Galen stands and where his friends lie on the floor. He removes his bandana/uniform jacket/armband. Galen has convinced one young person that hating/killing others is wrong. Slowly Galen crouches/squats to the floor next his friends, Virdon and Burke. Another human, dead, lies beside Galen. The attacker's weapon is just in front of Galen's feet. Galen lifts his gun and lowers the butt of the rifle forcefully on the weapon before him. Then rhythmically. Over and over. As he begins to break apart the weapon on the floor, he begins to change. Slowly we begin to see clearly a primitive chimpanzee adult breaking the weapon on the floor. The future has changed. Galen, as we knew him, is no more.
Copyright June, 2003
Be sure and check out the fan fics "The Last Days on the Planet of the Apes" and "Echoes From the Past" for other versions of a POTA tv series finale.