Planet of the Apes Wiki

"That's what I'm worried about: later. Later, we'll do something about pollution. Later, we'll do something about the population exploding. Later, we'll do something about the nuclear war. You act as if we have all the time in the world. How much time has the world got?! Somebody has to begin to care!"
―Doctor Hasslein [src]

Dr. Otto Hasslein was a physicist and special scientific advisor to President Willard.


Space flight sent astronauts Taylor, Dodge, Landon, Stewart, Maddox and Brent to the world of the apes through something called a Hasslein Time Curve – a form of time dilation possible with their spacecraft. It's assumed that this was named after the Dr. Hasslein who is finally revealed when Doctors Milo, Zira and Cornelius travel through time in the other direction (Milo being killed by a primitive gorilla shortly after arriving).

Working at ANSA, Hasslein had organized a number of missions, including the Juno which sent six astronauts (including Landon, Stewart and Jones) between Mars and Jupiter in order to test hibernation pods and Hasslein's 'X-Comm' technology, and to officially 'claim' Jupiter for the United States. Hasslein then organised the Liberty 1 mission and urged General Lazenbe to send a second craft, the Liberty 2, if not to rescue the first crew then to test his time-travel theory. He also worked on the mysterious 'Churchdoor' project, which concerned the development of a planet-destroying missile.

Hasslein learned that the talking chimpanzee "ape-o-nauts" had actually arrived in the present day (1973) from Earth's own future, where mankind had fallen to the level of beasts while apes rose to power and intellect. While the other members of the Presidential Commission appointed to deal with "alien visitors" were initially skeptical of the time-travel story, Hasslein believed them, seeing it as confirmation of his theories. He privately became very suspicious of what their arrival could mean for mankind; afraid that the pair's presence might somehow set man's downfall in motion. He explained to a television news presenter his theories of time, and his belief that changing the future may be possible. He analogized time to be a highway with an infinite number of lanes, all going from the past to the future; by changing lanes, one can change destiny (see 'Trivia').

After gaining their trust, the apes revealed to him Earth's eventual fate. As President Willard's science advisor, he expressed his concerns, resulting in Cornelius and Zira first being taken into custody, then interrogated at length. Provoked by Zira's drugged admissions of her experimentation on humans, and Cornelius giving details of his historical research into man's decline, the Presidential Commission concluded (in a reflection of Taylor's fate before the ape tribunal) that the couple's unborn fetus should be "prevented" from birth, and that Zira and Cornelius should be "humanely rendered incapable" of conceiving again, with their ultimate fate to be decided later – at Hasslein's determination - though it appeared likely they would be handed over either to scientists or the military for study.

When Cornelius and Zira escaped military custody (at the beginnings of Zira's labor pains), Hasslein lobbied President Willard to kill the apes before they could threaten man's existence, and mounted a full-scale hunt, including searches of all local circuses and zoos. Days later, a carpet bag abandoned by Zira turned up near the derelict shipyard where they had been hiding, and the pair were spotted soon afterward with Zira carrying a baby chimp - Hasslein now knew she had given birth. Boarding their ship, Hasslein approached Zira, pistol in hand, and demanded she give him the baby, as the authorities approached. Before they arrived, he shot Zira and fired several shots into the swaddling blankets. Cornelius, who had earlier asked Lewis Dixon for a pistol "to kill ourselves" and avoid being captured, now used the pistol to avenge his wife, shooting at Hasslein from a crow's nest on the ship. As the authorities arrived, Hasslein and Cornelius traded gunfire. Cornelius killed Hasslein, but was himself killed by sharpshooters, falling to the deck. Despite Hasslein's best intentions, the baby he killed was not the offspring of Zira and Cornelius – and his treatment of them may have just set in motion everything Hasslein hoped to prevent.



  • The theory described by Hasslein in his TV interview, known as "many-worlds interpretation," was first advanced in 1957 as "relative state formation" by Hugh Everett, and was popularised in the 1960s and '70s by Bryce Seligman DeWitt who applied its lasting name. Hasslein mentions neither real-life scientist in the film.
  • MAD Magazine, known for the work of artist Mort Drucker who spoofed films, written back-to-back parodies of the first four films. Drucker's work was known for good likenesses of the original actors. The spoof of Escape is called Escape from the Planet that Went Apes and spoofed Hasslein as "Dr. Hassled". Zira expresses fear of her pregnancy being known, and Cornelius replies "You mean Dr. Hassled does not like apes?" to which Zira replies "That is putting it mildly. He was the only man who ever picketed a revival showing of King Kong!" However, Hasslein's spoof was mistakenly drawn as the model of Bradford Dillman instead of Eric Braeden.


Hasslein's Notes

Hasslein's final letter to President Willard before his death was published in MR Comics' Revolution on the Planet of the Apes, issue 3 (2006), having been 'discovered' by MR's Joe O'Brien.


Dr. Hasslein in Power Records' 'Escape from the Planet of the Apes'; illustration by Arvid Knudsen and Associates

Dr. Hasslein in Marvel's 'Escape from the Planet of the Apes'; illustration by Rico Rival


External Links

Planet of the Apes - The Original Pentalogy Series
Planet of the Apes (APJ) Movies
Planet of the Apes | Beneath the Planet of the Apes | Escape from the Planet of the Apes | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes | Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Main Ape Characters
Zira | Cornelius | Zaius | Ursus | Milo | Caesar | Lisa | Virgil | Aldo | Cornelius II | Lawgiver
Supporting Ape Characters
Hunt Leader | Julius | Marcus | Galen | Honorius | Maximus | President of the Assembly | Lucius | Minister | Minister | Frank | Mandemus
Main Human Characters
George Taylor | Nova | John Landon | Dodge | John Brent | Mendez XXVI | Caspay | Ongaro | Albina | Fat Man | Lewis Dixon | Stephanie Branton | Otto Hasslein | Armando | Breck | MacDonald (Conquest) | MacDonald (Battle) | Kolp | Mendez I
Supporting Human Characters
Stewart | Maddox | Verger | General Winthrop | General Faulkner | The President | Chairman of the President's Committee of Inquiry | E-1 | E-2 | Inspector Hoskyns | TV Newscaster | Mrs Riley | Mutant Captain | Jake | Jake's friend
Horse | Gorilla in Zoo
Items / Weapons
Sacred Scrolls | Human Doll | Alpha-Omega Bomb | Grape Juice Plus
Important Events / Battles
Ape Rebellion
Bellatrix | Orion | Earth's Moon | Ape City | Forbidden Zone | Statue of Liberty | Queensboro Plaza | Radio City Music Hall | Grand Central Terminal | New York Stock Exchange | St. Patrick's Cathedral' | New York City | Jefferson Public School | Los Angeles | Los Angeles Zoo | Forbidden City | Ape City (Caesar's City) | Council
Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes | Exile on the Planet of the Apes | Planet of the Apes: Ursus| Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern | Kong on the Planet of the Apes | Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes
Soundtrack Music
Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Battle for the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Music Of The Planet Of The Apes