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"Everything in the human culture takes place below the waist!"

General Thade is a central chimpanzee in the 2001 Planet of the Apes movie and the main antagonist.


General Thade was the ambitious and brutal leader (along with his gorilla friend Attar) of the Ape armies, who passionately hated all things human and wanted them exterminated. Thade had a distinctive hatred of Captain Leo Davidson, starting with their meeting where they had a staring moment and telling Attar: "This one looked at me!". Thade ruled with cruelty and lived by a Machiavellian outlook on life. Any means justified the ends to Thade. While willing to get a pet human child for his niece, Thade himself believed the world would be a better place if all humans were killed, so he schemed to be given absolute power by the Ape Senate to rid the planet of human kind once and for all. General Thade pursued Ari romantically but seemed to never progress, mainly because she hated his barbaric, vile nature towards humans, plus she felt he was only after her father's authority. When news of a crashed spacecraft reached him, he personally killed the two gorilla soldiers who told him, to ensure the information remained a secret. Following his granting of martial law by Senator Sandar after convincing him, Thade and Attar gathered the armies and marched Calima intent on wiping out human kind, but stopped to visit his terminally ill father. Before dying, his father, who had instilled this hatred in him, told his son that knew that humans were once in charge, and Thade vowed to wipe out any resistance to ape rule. On the road to the forbidden area of Calima, Thade met with Ari in his tent and branded her with the mark of human slaves after she was found gathering with human rebels in.

At the beginning of the next day, Thade sent in his first wave of soldiers before they were caught in the surprise explosion from the jet thruster's reserves. Tired of chasing Leo, Thade declared no quarter before riding into the midst and passionately killing every human in his apathy fore encountering Leo. When the ape army was halted by the appearance of a spacepod piloted by Pericles, Thade alone rejected the idea of the second coming of the ape god Semos. He chased the Leo and the chimp into the ship and was eventually locked into the control room of the deserted space station with a laser gun taken from Pericles' pod. With truth of their origins exposed and Attar turned against the general for his family's great lie, Thade fired the laser gun frantically filling the entire room in sparks before cowering under the table in shame of being an ape in a cage.

He was shown again in the closing scene, where Leo had returned to Earth in his own time only to find technologically-advanced apes in charge and a large statue of Thade in place of Abraham Lincoln on the Lincoln Memorial where it was written:

―Thade's shrine

General Thade atop a horse.


Ape Lincoln

  • How Thade achieved his journey to Earth isn't explained, though an insert in the DVD release suggested that he took Leo Davidson's crashed spacepod, went to a point earlier in Earth's history and became a prominent leader in an ape uprising. How Thade learned to swim or to otherwise recover the underwater spacepod is further unexplained. In contrast, Dark Horse Comics' The Human War suggested that he died in disgrace on Ashlar.[1] His disappearance could possibly have been assumed on his home planet to be a sign of weakness. The ending was intended to form the basis of a movie sequel, plans for which were soon abandoned.
  • His role in the movie is very reminiscent of Dr. Zaius.



  • The name 'Thade' is an anagram of 'death'.[2] It may also have Germanic origins.[3]
  • In the first treatment of William Broyles' story, Thade is a Centurion of the Empire of Derkein. He is crowned Emperor, arrests his old friend Baldar, and plots to marry Ari - the fiancée of Baldar and daughter of the previous Emperor. Baldar ultimately kills Thade in revenge.[2]
  • In the first draft script for the film, Thade's role is largely unchanged, except that he agrees be 'King' of Derkein only until order is restored, and he succeeds in marrying Ari before he is murdered.[4]
  • One of the draft scripts had Thade as an albino gorilla, but Tim Burton felt chimpanzees were more frightening.[5]
  • Gary Oldman was originally in talks to play the leader of the anti-human apes, but he was reportedly unhappy with the pay on offer and the part of Thade passed to fellow-Brit actor Tim Roth. Oldman would go on to play the antagonist Dreyfus in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.[3]
  • Ex-Cirque du Soleil acrobat Terry Notary doubled for Thade's more spectacular stunts.[3]


  1. Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Encyclopedia, by Rich Handley - Hasslein Books (2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Annals of the Planet Ashlar Treatment, by William Broyles Jr. (4 August 1999)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Planet of the Apes Chronicles, by Paul A. Woods
  4. The Visitor First Draft Script, by William Broyles Jr. (24 September 1999)
  5. DVD audio commentary, Tim Burton

Thade in Dark Horse Comics' 'Planet Of The Apes: Movie Adaptation'; illustration by Davide Fabbri, Christian Dalla Vecchia and Christopher Ivy

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)