Captain Leo Davidson is the main protagonist of the 2001 Planet of the Apes movie.


Leo Davidson was an astronaut officer who was stationed onboard the space station Oberon in 2029 researching genetic engineering on chimps, orangutans and gorillas. He worked regularly with a chimp named Pericles who he trained to perform basic tasks out in space. When a great electromagnetic storm was detected in space, Pericles was dispatched in a small craft to check it out. Leo didn't like the idea and would have preferred to go himself. However his commander, Vasich, believed in sending a chimp before sending a man to explore something dangerous. When Pericles lost contact while piloting the space pod, Leo snuck onboard another pod and followed him, only to get caught in the same electrical storm. The storm rocketed Leo through and caused his pod to crash on a strange new world ruled by apes but also populated by humans who existed as savages and slaves.

Escaping slavery in Derkein a ape city on planet Ashlar, Leo traced a signal from his space station colleagues and tried to find the rescue mission. Instead he found the thousand-year-old remains of the crashed station itself and realized that the apes and humans were the descendants of his crew-mates and cargo. The station was hurled into the planet while searching for him, while he was thrown forward through many centuries of evolution and genetic mutation. Leo led a revolt against the apes, eventually leading the human forces to an important victory. He returned through time to Earth, only to find it also ruled by apes. Leo discovered with horror an honorary shrine in the memory of Thade in the similar style to Abraham Lincoln, before being surrounded by ape police, press and public.


  • The film's conclusion resembled the original book's ending, though the original Apes movie more closely followed that book's adventures on the planet.
  • At the end of the first treatment of William Broyles' story, Leo travels through a worm-hole and arrives back on Earth long after he had left. He finds that apes have taken over Earth, and leads a mixed group of humans and apes back through the worm-hole to Ashlar, arriving a thousand years before his first visit. He becomes the legendary 'Moses' revered by later generations as the founder of Ashlar.[1] In the first draft script, Leo's arrival on Ashlar coincides with the defeat of human forces by an ape army in battle, rather than the simple human-hunt depicted in the final film. Later, Leo flies Pericles’ space-pod into the ape army camp, where the stunned apes revere him as the human founder of Ashlar (now named 'David' rather than Moses). Leo views a holographic recording of his older self, advising his younger self to return to Earth, enjoy further adventures, and lead a migration of humans and apes back to Ashlar. He leaves alone in Pericles' space-pod, returning with the migrants to land on Ashlar 3000 years before the main events of the film.[2]



  1. Annals of the Planet Ashlar Treatment, by William Broyles Jr. (4 August 1999)
  2. The Visitor First Draft Script, by William Broyles Jr. (24 September 1999)
Planet of the Apes - The Chronicle of Ashlar
Planet of the Apes TB
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Main Characters
Leo Davidson | Ari | Thade | Attar | Krull | Limbo | Daena
Supporting Characters
Grace Alexander | Aspasia | Bon | Leeta | | Thade's Niece | Tuug | Karl Vasich | Woman in Cart | Zaius | Sandar | Nado | Nova | Pericles | Semos | Birn | Gunnar | Karubi | Tival
Ashlar | Calima | Oberon | Derkein
Comics, Novels & Magazines
The Human War | Planet Of The Apes (2001) Graphic Novel | Planet of the Apes (2001) (Junior Novelisation) | Planet of the Apes (2001) Concept Art & Costume Tests
Soundtrack Music
Planet of the Apes (2001 Soundtrack Album)
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