- "On an historic day, which is commemorated by my species and fully documented in the Sacred Scrolls, there came Aldo. He did not grunt. He articulated. He spoke a word which had been spoken to him time without number by humans. He said, 'No'."
Aldo is a central character in the The Original Pentalogy of Planet of the Apes movies. He appears in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes as chimpanzee anti-hero before appearing in Battle for the Planet of the Apes as an antagonistic gorilla, serving as the primary antagonist alongside Governor Kolp.
Aldo is a complicated character. He is barely likable at all, prone to aggression and disobedience. Aldo prefers learning practical skills such as riding horses to any sort of book learning, and, as such, appears to be poorly educated (stated at one point because he does not wish to learn). Despite his lack of education, (shown by his short, broken sentences), Aldo is very arrogant, who overestimates his strength and leadership skills. Aldo's motives appear benevolent in nature, as he thinks that Caesar cannot protect the apes from the humans or other threats, so unless he takes power, all of them could die. However, it can be argued that he was merely using this excuse to get to power. Despite his seemingly rational motives, Aldo still kills a child to keep his secret, betrays Caesar by staging a coup and later attempts to kill all the humans in cold blood, and then Caesar himself. Aldo is significant as he is the first ape in the series shown to kill another ape (something even the ruthless General Ursus would never do). The NECA General Aldo action figure box describes him as having an inferiority complex.
Escape from the Planet of the Apes
When interviewed on their arrival in the USA in 1973, Cornelius and Zira maintained that the ape takeover would be led by "Aldo", the first ape to say the word "No". This was to occur about 500 years later. Based on subsequent events, they either changed history by time-travelling, they were mistaken, or they lied to protect their child.
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
Early in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, their son Caesar briefly saw a rebellious (mute) chimp called "Aldo". He was a chimp messenger for Governor Breck who struggled to break free but was beaten up by guards - prompting Caesar's outburst. A later scene showed Caesar being taken to work in the Command Post by Mr MacDonald, where he passed Aldo and they seemed to communicate silently with each other.
Given that earlier draft scripts for Conquest gave Aldo (explicitly meant to be a gorilla) a greater role in the movie, it seems that Aldo was intended to be the same character mentioned in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, and also that the chimp identity of Aldo was a continuity error. The adaptation of Conquest that appeared in Marvel Comics was based on these earlier scripts - the writers hadn't actually seen the finished movie. Here, Aldo was a gorilla messenger for the governor who met Caesar and as they sized each other up silently they seemed to recognize something in each other. Caesar then saw Aldo being beaten, as in the movie, and shouted at the guards. Later, as Caesar plotted his revolution, he went to the apes servants' quarters and told Aldo through the window that he has come to begin the revolution. Aldo wasn't mentioned by name again but he may have been the gorilla seen at Caesar's side as they collected weapons, organizing the other apes.
Battle for the Planet of the Apes
- "You will call me by my proper rank...General!!"
- ―General Aldo
In Battle for the Planet of the Apes a gorilla called "Aldo" appears as a member of the new Ape City (this seems to be another continuity error - he may have been based on the gorilla described in the "Conquest" script, as opposed to the chimp seen on screen).
With a violent lust for power, Aldo had become a powerful ape leader, second only to Caesar and was jealous of Caesar's leadership. Aldo styled himself "General", insisting on being addressed as such and did not enjoy the presence of humans in the ape community. Aldo particularly disliked Abe the Teacher for overstepping his importance, humiliating the general in his school and for speaking the forbidden word no to him. Enraged by being spoken to like a slave, Aldo led an angry chase on Abe before being rescued by Caesar and Virgil and was put in his place after being told to put the demolished school back together. Riding off in frustration and nearly running Caesar over, Aldo plotted to get rid of him later.
On the night Aldo made his usurping plans with other gorilla soldiers, Cornelius overheard his secret plot, forcing Aldo to draw his machete and cut the branch Cornelius was standing on to protect his plan, which all but killed the chimp prince. MacDonald and Virgil discovered that the branch Cornerilus fell from has not been broken at all, but was cut. Aldo later fought powerfully to defend the ape settlement from the mutant invasion, but in the aftermath of the battle, Aldo's secret murder of Cornelius was then exposed before the apes, to which they then gathered while chanting at him in disgust "Ape has killed Ape", forcing Aldo into fleeing up a tree in shame which placed him in the same predicament as Cornelius. Caesar then chased Aldo over the edge of the branch, killing him in revenge for the death of his son.
In the comics
- Aldo's story was expanded in MR Comics' Revolution on the Planet of the Apes. When the ape revolution broke out, Aldo was a cleaner at "Hasslein Air Force Base". He was to be taken for reconditioning, when he struggled free and shouted "No". He led the other apes in rebellion and had acquired the power of speech ahead of other apes. His forces took over Washington and the White House before flying jets to join Caesar's revolt in the west. A character that more closely resembled the Aldo we would later see in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, and perhaps the inspiration for the Aldo shown in Revolution, was a gorilla cleaner who was inspired by Caesar to upturn his bin as an act of rebellion in Conquest.
- More of Aldo's story was told in the Marvel's own-created Quest for the Planet of the Apes, in which Aldo (a gorilla, as in Marvel's previous adaptation) challenged Caesar to a quest to determine leadership of the apes: he and Caesar had to journey to the human city and each bring something back; whoever found the "best thing" would rule. Caesar brought back the knowledge and vision of what strife can cause, and what peace can avoid. Aldo found a stocked armoury and filled a cart with rifles. Aldo then challenged Caesar to a fight. Aldo was stronger, but Caesar was far smarter and lured Aldo into a tree, snaring him in a rope-trap.
- Again, Marvel adapted the Battle movie in comic form, while "Power Records" adaptation of the fifth movie was a fairly faithful re-telling, except no mention was made of Caesar having a son, let alone of Aldo murdering him. Instead, Aldo was killed for challenging Caesar's authority. "Malibu Graphics" Planet of the Apes comics suggested that Aldo survived the fall from the tree shown in the movie, and that he and his followers were then exiled from the ape settlement. General Ollo was a descendent of these exiled followers of Aldo.
- In earlier drafts of the script for Battle..., Caesar hears the full version of Cornelius' statement before the Presidential Commission, about 'Aldo' being the first ape to say 'No', to which Caesar responds "I think I know what to change". In the filmed version, Cornelius' statement omits the words "called Aldo", simply saying that "there came an ape...", which Caesar, MacDonald and Virgil assume to refer to Caesar. Caesar's dialogue changes to "I know what it is that I want to change." The changes in script indicated that Caesar should not know of Aldo's original destiny (or that of another ape by the same name) as this would change the dynamic of the story. Caesar must work towards avoiding the eventual gorilla/mutant war that would destroy the planet, rather than simply alter history by eliminating Aldo.
- In the first story outline for Battle..., Caesar is shot dead by Aldo at the movie's climax, but for entirely different reasons than their conflict in the finished film.
- Aldo dies the same way Cornelius II does. He too falls from a tree but unlike Cornelius, who is fatally wounded before dying, Aldo apparently dies upon his fall.
- Claude Akins was doubled by Orwin Harvey as Aldo in his fatal tree-top fight with Caesar (doubled by Robert Prohaska) at the end of Battle for the Planet of the Apes.
- The name 'Aldo' comes from the Latin word 'altus', meaning "the tall one", and is a very popular name in Italy. Perhaps coincidentally, it was the name of a central character in the film Hornets' Nest, released just as Escape was being scripted in late 1970. In this World War II story, Aldo is the leader of a group of orphaned Italian boys who join the resistance movement against German occupation, but he becomes mentally unstable and obsessive about killing Germans, eventually killing one of his own gang in his rage.
- Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
- Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (novel)
- Battle for the Planet of the Apes
- Battle for the Planet of the Apes (novel)
- Battle for the Planet of the Apes (Power Records)
- Planet of the Apes Magazine: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
- Planet of the Apes Magazine: Quest for the Planet of the Apes
- Planet of the Apes Magazine: Battle for the Planet of the Apes
- Revolution on the Planet of the Apes
- What Year Is 'Battle' Set?
- Conquest of the Planet of the Apes final shooting script at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
- Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, adapted by Jean Webb - 'Screen Stories' (August 1972)
- Conquest of the Planet of the Apes - Marvel UK Planet of the Apes #69 (February 1976)
- Hunter's Planet of the Apes Scripts Archive
- 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes' promotional material