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He's not a monkey, he's an ape!
Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin, also known as Patient Zero, was a good-natured chimpanzee handler employed at Gen-Sys Laboratories, where Dr. Will Rodman was researching a cure to Alzheimer's Disease.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes[]

Working at Gen-Sys[]

Robert Franklin was an employee at Gen-Sys Laboratories who worked as an ape handler under Will Rodman, who developed ALZ-112, a revolutionary trial drug that could potentially cure Alzheimer's disease. After the 112 project was shut down due to one of the chimp test subjects, Bright Eyes, going berserk. Franklin was ordered by Gen-Sys CEO Steven Jacobs to euthanize all chimpanzees exposed to the potentially dangerous drug, Franklin discovered a new-born baby chimpanzee who he could not bring himself to euthanize. Unable to rescue the chimpanzee himself, due to his brother-in-law working in security, Franklin asked Will to raise the chimpanzee, who was later named Caesar.

Eight years later, chimp testing resumed at Gen-Sys and Franklin returned to his former role. While the refined ALZ-113 drug was tested on a bonobo named Koba, the ape had a strong shake in his restraints and Franklin's mask was kicked off by Koba's wandering hand, exposing him to the 113 after pulling the formula's feed tube out. Even though he quickly put his mask back on properly, he was infected with the virus. Realizing his mistake, Franklin tried to get Will to tell him that he had been infected, but instead encountered Will's ill-tempered neighbor, Douglas Hunsiker who demanded to know who Franklin was. A startled Franklin accidentally sneezed up blood on Hunsiker, passing the virus on to him, after which Hunsiker aggressively ordered him to leave. This act would cause the Simian Flu outbreak that would result in the near extinction of humanity. Soon after, Franklin's body was discovered in his apartment by his landlady, Dottie, his body still bleeding after he had died.


Linda Andersen phoned Jacobs to tell him about Franklin's untimely death but was too late and ignored her due to Caesar's revolution inside the Gen-Sys building. The same fate would happen to Hunsiker and billions of humans worldwide. In the years after his death, Franklin was labeled as "Patient Zero", a lab technician who was the first to be exposed to ALZ-113, later dubbed the "Simian Flu".


Robert Franklin was distinguished as being one of the only characters to care for the apes' well-being, at one point standing up to his unethical boss and proudly correcting Will's presumption of Caesar being a "monkey". He was also kind and was willing to take the infant Caesar if his brother-in-law hadn't worked in security. However, he was also clumsy as seen when he knocked his mask off his face, hence exposing him to the lethal ALZ-113 virus.


  • Franklin's name is taken from Franklin J. Schaffner, director of the first Planet of the Apes movie.
  • An earlier version of the script differed in the details of Franklin's fate. Instead of Franklin, it was a chimpanzee handler named Evans (perhaps in reference to Maurice Evans) who was infected with the ALZ-113 virus in the operating theatre and died as a result. Caesar and Rocket escaped from their facility and broke into the lab in search of Caesar's mother. In return for a bracelet, Rocket freed the sinister Koba, who then killed Franklin before returning to his cage, effectively framing Caesar for the murder. Later, Koba deliberately infected Steven Jacobs with the fatal virus, who in turn infected Hunsiker.
  • Despite his kind nature, Franklin's actions with Hunsiker ended up being a cause of humanity's fall, as it turned out that Hunsiker was an airline pilot and spread the disease across the entire world.
  • The top quote references that apes in the Planet of the Apes franchise regard the name "monkey" as a serious derogatory offence.


Planet of the Apes - 20th Century Reboot Series
Planet of the Apes (CE) Movies
Rise of the Planet of the Apes | Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | War for the Planet of the Apes | Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
Main Evolved Ape Characters
Caesar | Bright Eyes | Koba | Maurice | Rocket | Buck | Cornelia | Blue Eyes | Luca | Ash | Cornelius | Winter | Lake | Bad Ape | Red | Noa | Soona | Anaya | Raka | Koro | Dar | Proximus Caesar | Sylva | Lightning
Supporting Ape Characters
Alpha | Burke | Verdon | Tinker | Grey | Stone | Andy | Wolfie | Jeanpierre | Lucky | Koba's Mother | Sparrow | Pope | Fifer | Cora | Rex | Bon | Dallas | Milo | Herman | Spear | Ajax | Oak | Fox | Aghoo | Ursus | Percy | Beardface | Armando | Luna | Oda | Rust
Main Human Characters
Will Rodman | Charles Rodman | Caroline Aranha | Robert Franklin | Steven Jacobs | Dodge Landon | John Landon | Douglas Hunsiker | Malcolm | Ellie | Alexander | Dreyfus | Carver | Foster | Colonel McCullough | Nova | Mae | Trevathan
Supporting Human Characters
Rodney | John Hamil | Rita | Sarah | Maddy | John | Edward | Roger Mason | Werner | Kemp | Clancy Stoppard | Corbin | Daniel Nygun | David Flynn | Finney | Kuo | Malakai Youmans | Max (Firestorm) | McVeigh | Terry | Roger | Rod Wilson | Preacher | Boyle | Lang | Travis | Korina
Rodman Family | Caesar's Family | Malcolm's Family | Rocket's Family | Dreyfus' Family
Horse | Elk | Grizzly Bear | Eagle | Zebra
Items / Weapons
Simian Flu
Important Events / Battles
Ape Rebellion | Human-Ape War | Simian Flu Pandemic | Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge | Battle in San Francisco | Battle of Muir Woods Park | Attack on Ape Waterfall | Battle of the Border
Organizations / Colonies / Companies
San Francisco Ape Colony | Caesar's Council of Apes | Caesar's Ape Army | Gen-Sys Board | San Francisco's Human Colony | Dreyfus' Human Army | Malcolm's Group | Alpha-Omega | Donkeys | Florida Ape Colony | Rocky Mountains Ape Colony | Eagle Clan | Coastal Ape Colony | Order of Caesar | Satellite Human Colony
West African Jungle | San Francisco | San Francisco Zoo | Gen-Sys Laboratories | Rodman House | San Bruno Primate Shelter | Golden Gate Bridge | Muir Woods Park | Ape Mountain | Ape Gate | Ape Village | Caesar's Home | Warehouse | Ape Waterfall | The Border | Oasis
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (webcomic) | Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Contagion | Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (BOOM! Studios) | Before the Dawn | War for the Planet of the Apes (BOOM! Studios) | Planet of the Apes: The Time of Man | Planet of the Apes: The Simian Age | Planet of the Apes: Devolution
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm | Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Official Movie Novelization | War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations | War for the Planet of the Apes - Official Movie Novelization | Caesar’s Story
Other Books
Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | War for the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album)
Video Games
Plague Inc: Simian Flu | Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier | Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR