Buck was an extremely powerful evolved gorilla housed in a specially built cage at the San Bruno Primate Shelter. He was notable for being the only ape to never be harassed by Dodge Landon due to his size and strength, which forced John Landon to keep Buck in a reinforced cage at all time. He was freed by Caesar and at first refused to go out, as he begin playing with the toys the other apes played with. He respected Caesar and became his friend and his enforcer, even helping Caesar to make Rocket step down as alpha.
After the ape breakout, Buck took part in liberating other apes and fought alongside Caesar. During the climax of Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge, Buck sacrificed himself to protect Caesar.
Rise of the Planet of the ApesEdit
Due to his size, the owner John Landon and his son Dodge Landon kept Buck in a reinforced cell outside in the playroom, far away from the other apes due to his immense strength. Buck was also the only ape never harassed by Dodge and the only ape who was never let out to interact with the apes. This led to Buck becoming isolated and taking his aggression out on the free apes by roaring at any ape that approached his cage.
One day as the rest of the apes were free in the play area, Buck picked up the scent of a new ape and roared at the newcomer while shaking the bars of his cell violently. He then saw the newcomer being picked on by Rocket, who was the alpha of the apes in the facility, which led to a chase in the tree that ended with Dodge tranquilizing both Rocket and the new chimp.
Two days later, Buck remained aggressive and roared at a wandering chimp until it was time for the chimps and Maurice to return to their cages. Buck's actions caught the notice of the newcomer Caesar who made plans for him. That night, Buck was fast asleep until he awoke to a nudge on his back. Turning, he spotted Caesar in his cell and became angry at being disturbed, as he beat his chest and roared at Caesar, who backed away slightly to show Buck the open space between his open cell and the play area. Curious, Buck brushed his hand over the soft, artificial grass, which made him exclaim at the softness and saw Caesar motioning his head for Buck to come out. At first, Buck was scared and backed away in the darkness of his cell until he ran out, which startled Caesar as he climbed up the rope tied to the tree. Buck roared as he ran around the open space and played with toys the apes played with for years. Truly happy and grateful to be free, Buck turn to thank the observing Caesar, which Caesar accepted.
Caesar later lured Rocket to the den and attacked him, causing Rocket to fall down on the play area's floor. After Caesar tossed the bucket aside, Buck stood behind Rocket who was surprised to see him free. Buck growled at him to display his strength and gestured his head to bow down to Caesar or he'll attack him. Buck watched as Rocket began to panic as he saw he was alone and held his hand out to Caesar, acknowledging him as the new alpha. Buck snorted as Caesar accepted Rocket's gesture. Buck then returned to his cell, knowing full well the humans wouldn't like him being out and that Caesar can let him out when it's safe.
Two days afterward, Buck watched from afar in his cage as Caesar's human owner Will Rodman attempted to take him back to their home, but Caesar declined and remained in his cell. Sensing Caesar's sorrow of giving his only chance to return home, Buck began to hoot in gratitude, which was followed by the other apes hooting in gratitude of Caesar, who was surprised and began to plan for the liberation of all apes in San Francisco.
The following night, Buck was fast asleep alongside the other apes until Caesar managed to sneak out of the shelter after memorizing Rodney's code to the pin-padded door adjacent to the cells' tunnel and returned with two canisters of the ALZ-113. Caesar then punctured the canisters and exposed Buck as well as the other apes to the virus. By morning, Buck woke up and realized his primitive mind has changed and he became aware of the world around him. He then saw Caesar assure the apes of their enhanced intellect and began to teach them Sign Language.
By night, Buck was prepared to sleep until he spotted Caesar standing in the play area's center and Dodge walking toward him with his prod in hand. Buck then surmised that Caesar planned to break the apes out of the shelter that night and watched as Dodge shocked Caesar with the prod, aggravating Buck as he couldn't do anything to help Caesar. As he saw Caesar gain the upper hand and seized Dodge's arm, Buck became shocked when Caesar did the one thing no other ape was capable of doing before: he shouted "No!". Buck then watched as the apes hooted and screeched in aggression as Caesar shouted "no" more before tugging Dodge in the cells through the tunnel. After Dodge's death, Caesar released Buck from his cage and led the apes out in the play room, allowing Buck to burst through it. Buck then followed the other apes and burst through the atrium-style roof of the shelter.
Arriving at the outskirts of the city at dawn, Buck, standing beside, Rocket, Caesar, and Maurice, gazed at the large city until Caesar gestured Buck to lead half of their troop of apes to the San Francisco Zoo while Caesar, Rocket and Maurice take the other half to Gen-Sys Laboratories. Arriving at the zoo, Buck terrorized the area and made many of the humans flee in fear as he charged at a chimpanzee enclosure, bending the metal fence, allowing the chimps to escape while Buck gestured a few of the awakened apes to pull out a few bars of the fence to use as spears. Buck then led the zoo chimps, gorillas and orangutans out of the zoo and into the streets of San Francisco, rejoining Caesar's troop, which was enforced by all of the chimpanzees from Gen-Sys.
Later as they made their way through the city and most of the chimpanzees crashed through the buildings, Buck and Maurice spotted two police cars approaching them. Maurice grunted at Buck to help stop, and consented as he pulled a nearby parking meter out of the ground while Maurice took a manhole cover and tossed it at the first car, breaking its front shield and causing it to swerve to its side. Seeing an opening to the second car, Buck thrusted the meter with all his might, causing it to piece its engine, forcing the car to swerve and stop. Buck roared and beat his chest before making his way to a cable car alongside Caesar, Rocket, and Maurice, which Caesar has accepted the three of them as his lieutenants as the car headed to their designation: the Muir Woods beyond the Golden Gate Bridge.
Battle on the Golden Gate BridgeEdit
Once at the bridge, Buck and the apes made their way through the cars, startling the humans inside; Buck even stomped on one of the cars' windshield as he jumped. Halfway through the bridge, Buck saw Caesar raise his fist and shouted "wait", realizing that the humans have called their law enforcement officers and had them blocked at both ends of the bridge. Buck then saw Caesar telling the chimpanzees to go up and over on the bridge's cable suspenders, led by a one-eyed bonobo, and the orangutans, led by Maurice, and ape mothers with children went underneath the bridge. Caesar, Rocket, and Buck led the gorillas and remaining chimps through the bridge until a few mounted units began attacking the apes from behind. Buck then turned into a fury and charged at one of the mounted units, successfully knocking the policeman off of his horse and prepared to kill him until Caesar told him not to. Abiding by Caesar, Buck seized the human and roared until his mask was fogged up before Buck resumed his course.
Reaching a bus sideways, Buck saw Caesar commanding the gorillas to bring the bus down, which he joined as he slammed with the gorillas into the bus, causing it to fall on its side. Buck and the gorillas then pushed the bus forward to shield them from the policemen's gunfire until they stopped and Caesar gave the order to attack now. After the chimps jumped down from the suspenders and orangutans rose from beneath the bridge, Buck, alongside the gorillas and the chimpanzees, charged at the officers, taking them down and disarming them. Buck spotted one policeman firing from inside his car, seized him through the back windshield, and tossed him over the bridge, beating his chest and roaring as he saw the humans flee in terror. As the other apes hooted in victory, Buck spotted a helicopter rising from the bridge's side, with the head of Gen-Sys as one of its passengers, and opened fire, killing a few apes. Taking cover, Buck spotted Caesar running at the chopper with a large pair of cuffs in his right hand and tossed it in the chopper to knock down the gunman, but spotted one of the policemen open fire at Caesar. Seeing his first friend in danger, Buck rushed and pushed Caesar aside, taking the bullets as he charged and jumped at the chopper. Landing inside, Buck viciously knocked down the gunman and attack the controls inside, causing the chopper to crash on the bridge, mortally wounding Buck and killing the two policemen.
Coming to, Buck felt himself being pulled out of the wreckage by Caesar and back on the road of the bridge. Seizing his friend's hand, Buck thanked Caesar for befriending him and everything else until he passed, leaving Caesar to mourn his fallen friend until he turned to Jacobs' pleas for help. Buck's death was avenged as Koba pushed the chopper over the bridge, killing Jacobs as he was crushed under the weight of the chopper in the water.
Luca was also trusted in leading the Gorilla Guard that protect the entrance of the Ape Colony's new village, and was just as loyal to Caesar as Buck was to the ape leader. This was seen when Luca sacrificed himself to protect his king, like Buck had done in the past.
Buck at first appeared reclusive, antisocial and depressed by his terms of incarceration. He was constantly ignored by the other apes and even Dodge Landon who made no attempts to socialize with him. He also showed reluctance to break free when Caesar confronts him, but then bursts into the enclosure and enjoyed himself. He is enigmatic and powerful, and undoubtedly became a valuable ally to Caesar.
Buck was then shown to have a terrifying bad temper, and appears to have a limit of self-control. He was the only known ape in the Ape Colony that risked everything for Caesar, his alpha and best friend.
Buck was terrifyingly brave and incredibly selfless, this was shown when, at the climax of the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge when Caesar was attacked by a helicopter, commandeered by Steven Jacobs, and Buck broke through the firing line, smashing through the helicopter, killing all but one of the passengers and, in the process, killing himself. Buck's courage showed that he had very much grown to care for and admire Caesar, despite not knowing him that well.
- Animal Strength: Like all gorillas, Buck was extremely powerful and strong, he was so strong that even Rocket, the then-alpha of the shelter (and the future second-in-command of the ape army) chose to give in to Caesar's demand of being the new alpha, lest Buck would no doubt attack him. Buck was amongst the advanced guard that Maurice set up around Caesar and displayed frightening strength during the Ape Rebellion, he and his new gorilla allies pushed a large bus in range of police bullets. During the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge; Buck defeated countless police officers before smashing through a police helicopter, killing all but one of the passengers. Buck was the strongest gorilla in the entire Ape Army, his strength was (possibly) rivaled only his successor, the late Luca.
- Animal Speed: Despite his massive size, Buck was much faster than he appeared to be. After Caesar unlocked his cage, Buck bursts into the enclosure with formidable speed, at the climax the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge; when Caesar was attacked by a helicopter, commandeered by Steven Jacobs, Buck broke through the firing line, moving with unbelievable speed.
- Animal Endurance: Buck was shown to have great endurance as shown when he survived multiple point-blank shots from the police officers on the helicopter.
- Animal Stamina: Buck showed that he possesses high stamina as he took multiple shots from police but was able to ignore the pain and attack the officers before the chopper crashed on the bridge.
- Expert Hand-To-Hand Combatant: Due to him being the fourth-in-command of the Ape Army, Buck was a capable fighter. During the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge, Buck was able to go head-on with a police officer, who was riding a horse despite the fact that the police officer repeatedly hit him in the face with a baton, he most definitely would have killed the police officer, if Caesar had not told Buck to let the human live. Also like most gorillas, Buck used his massive strength and speed in battle to make himself a formidable opponent alone in single combat.
- Expert Leader: Buck was a capable leader, this was shown when he single-handedly led some of the apes to attack the San Francisco Zoo which was successful as it liberated countless apes who would follow Buck's group out of the zoo and increased the numbers of the Ape Army. He would then become the new leader of the gorilla's in the army and would have his new allies help in Caesar's plan on the bridge.
- High-Level Intellect: Even before he was exposed to the ALZ-113, Buck had some level of intelligence as shown with his loyalty towards Caesar. After he was exposed to the ALZ-113 (off-screen) Buck became much more intelligent than before, it was unknown how much his advanced intelligence and IQ had increased. During the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge, Buck was about to kill a police officer, but Caesar told him no (in english) Buck clearly understood what he said and spared the human.
- Speech: Having inhaled the ALZ-113, Buck had gained the ability of speech. At the climax the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge; after Buck sacrificed himself to save Caesar from a helicopter, commandeered by Steven Jacobs, in his final moments he was trying to say thank you to Caesar for his friendship.
- See Buck/Relationships.
- Buck was named in tribute to Buck Kartalian, who played gorillas in both Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and who remains very active at Apes fan conventions to this day.
- An earlier version of the script has Buck survive the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge, throwing Dodge off the bridge to his death after Dodge has killed Rocket.
- In his final moments he appears to say something along the lines of "Thank you" to Caesar.
- In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, he does not appear as he died in the previous film but he is replaced by Luca.
- If Buck had not died in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he most definitely would have become an important figure in Caesar's Ape Colony, as well as becoming a member of the Ape Council.
- Buck, Luca, and Red are the only known gorillas to have been given the ALZ-113 (off-screen) as the other gorillas in the ape colony were not given this drug (on-screen).
- Despite Caesar ordering Buck not to kill any humans, the Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge ended with him throwing a human off the bridge.
- Buck was nineteen years old, during the events of Rise.
- Due to this, he was the oldest of the apes even surpassing Koba who sixteen in the first film.
- See Buck/Gallery.