- "That day, after the battle on the hill...The donkey we caught promised me the Colonel would spare my life...If I told them where you were hiding. Forgive me!
My son... my wife... are dead."
- ―Caesar telling Winter the cost of his betrayal
Winter was an evolved albino western lowland gorilla who served as a member of the Gorilla Guard and Luca's protégé. He turned on his fellow apes for his own survival and joined Colonel McCullough as a Donkey, a faction of traitor apes serving Alpha-Omega, which led to the albino ape's undoing.
Winter was born into Caesar's Ape Colony and his mother named him Winter because his fur reminded her of the snow. As a child, Winter grew up in the Ape Colony and his father served as a member of the Gorilla Guard and was a brave warrior in the eyes of Winter who sought to follow in the latter's footsteps.
As a young adult, Winter achieved his dream of joining the Gorilla Guard but struggled to fit in with his fellows as he felt out of place because of albinism which made him easy to spot in hunting and left him feeling inferior to the other gorillas. In the end, other apes stopped inviting him on hunts because the prey could see him. During games of hide and seek, Winter was always the first one found. Winter found comfort from his childhood idol and leader of the group Luca who made him see that he was a valuable member to the Ape Army.
War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations
Guarding the Colony
Winter volunteered to go with Luca to confront the army of humans approaching from the North, but Luca tells him to stay with the female and child apes. Winter half-heartedly protests, saying he is willing to fight but Luca says that is why he is saying with them, to fight anyone that would threaten them and Luca leaves. Winter and the rest of the Guard escort them to an abandoned building in the city to hide from the humans.
Winter suddenly felt like his entire body was on fire from the inside and jumped and swung his hands in a panic trying to make the feeling go away. Winter then realized that the building directly across from them had been set on fire by a weapon fired on them by the humans. Winter stood on the street in horror as the fire grew and was almost caught in a cloud of smoke before another of the Guard, Red, pulled him away in time and told him what happened. Red yanked his arm and told him they need to help the women and children but Winter just curled up against the wall in the fetal position and started rocking back and forth. This continued until Luca arrived, gripped Winter's arm tightly and ordered him to stand up. Winter got on all fours again in shame and submission.
Winter went to sleep to prepare for a long journey into the woods and was awakened by Luca. While walking across a bridge, Luca, Red and Ajax, Luca's second-in-command of the Guard, gathered around him to hide his white fur and Winter again tells Luca he wants to stay and fight with him, saying he can learn to use a gun. Luca say he will show him how to use a gun and explains to Winter that the Guard acts as the wall of their kind when they have no walls, protecting the other apes from harm. Luca says Winter's fur color has no bearing on this task as knowing a wall is present is enough to deter enemies, especially if the wall (aka Winter) is strong enough. Winter confesses he was scared when the humans attacked and Luca reassures him that fear helps them know their limits and tells Winter he knows he will be strong when the time comes.
Tricked by Red
After they reach the woods, Winter takes the early watch before another member of the Guard, Oak, relieves him to get some sleep. When Winter wakes up, he notices his gun is missing. Winter turns around after he heard someone's voice and saw it was Red, carrying both his and Winter's gun. Relieved, Winter moves to get his gun back from Red before he is told to sit back down. Winter then noticed the female apes and children were gathered together around a group of chimpanzees with guns led by Grey, which confused Winter as they were supposed to be with Caesar. Winter then noticed four Guard gorillas were missing their weapons, had their hands bound, and were being guarded by Oak and several more chimpanzees.
Winter asked Red what was going on and Red told him that Caesar, Luca and the rest of the Ape Army were dead. When Grey arrived to tell them the news, Ajax and half the guard tried to take over, and in the confusion Ajax kidnapped Cornelia and Cornelius to hold them as hostages to get the female apes to follow him. Now, Grey was their leader and Winter tells Red he understands and reaches for his gun. Red tells him he will get it when he is convinced that he is not a traitor like the other members of the guard, including one that is dead named Ursus. Winter assures Red he isn't and goes with them, unaware of the true story.
In truth, the Ape Army was still standing and fighting while the gorillas and new chimpanzees in the camp are Koba loyalists planning to leave Caesar and start their own colony with Grey as their leader. In that confusion, Cornelia took her infant son and fled, while Ajax was injured and Ursus was killed trying to stop them.
Winter is forced to carry a very heavy pack on the long journey away from the city while he wonders where he stood within the group. Winter decided to be useful and gathered wood in order to build a fire and then looked for a lighter knot to set it while grieving Luca's "death". Red came up behind him while Winter was searching and handed Winter his gun back, proving Winter had earned his trust. Winter told Red he won't disappoint him, then Red told him some of the female apes sneaked off into the night. When asked why, Red lies about Cornelia being the one to convince Ajax to start a coup and the females who left were her closest followers. Winter is more confused than ever as to why Cornelia would instigate this rebellion and Red tells him Cornelia is desperate to keep her crown. Winter is hesitant, but tells Red if he has to, he will protect the troop from Cornelia and Ajax, pleasing Red.
Winter's confusion and failure
Winter saw Oak return with Cornelia and Maple, one of Cornelia's followers, by his side and initially assumed they were his prisoners. When they continued getting closer, Winter noticed Oak wasn't carrying his gun anymore and slowly started pointing his gun toward Cornelia in preparation to shoot her. Oak tells Winter that Cornelia isn't the traitor and that Grey, Red and Oak were the true traitors, confusing Winter even more. Cornelia tells Winter that Luca and Caesar are still alive and Winter angrily shouted at her to stop moving, but she continued moving forward, telling Winter if he thinks she is his enemy, then shoot. Winter closed his eyes and tried to pull the trigger, but could not bring himself to do it.
Cornelia, Maple, and Oak went by him while Winter languished in his confusion at not knowing who was lying and who was telling the truth, and his failure to follow Red's orders. Winter realized the reason Cornelia went through him was because she saw he was the weakest link. Winter reported to Red everything that happened and Red demanded Winter surrender his gun and angrily sends Winter away because of his failure to shoot Cornelia.
After Caesar and Luca returned from the battle, Winter was welcomed back into the Guard despite his unwitting role in Red's coup. At some point, Winter took one of the empty seats on Caesar's council and sat beside Luca.
War for the Planet of the Apes Comics
Two months into the war, Caesar came up with a plan to cripple the humans in an attempt to stop the war; blow up the dam giving power to San Francisco. He lead a group of apes, among them Winter, Maurice and Rocket, telling them they need to destroy the dam to cut off the power, as it's essential to the humans.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Two years into the war, Winter was present with Caesar and Luca as they arrived at the aftermath of a battle at the apes' trench in Muir Woods. All three look over the dead and wounded apes before approaching Spear, who stood watch over the three Alpha-Omega survivors and the gorilla Red, who had defected to Alpha-Omega. As the three apes stared at the captives with Spear standing by, Winter noticed the orangutan Maurice approaching and stood aside to let him by as he informed Caesar the casualty total. As one of the soldiers named Preacher realized who Caesar was, Winter stood in fear as Caesar and the soldiers exchanged words until Red unveiled his speaking ability, threatening Caesar and the apes, which terrorized Winter to his heart until Spear struck the traitor down. After Caesar stopped Spear and gestured Luca to see to Red, the silverback ordered Winter to take Red out, which the albino did after lifting Red to his feet.
Dragging Red out into the woods, Winter made a deal with him by revealing the location of the tribe's current location: a cavern system in a waterfall deep in the woods. After Red accepted the deal and made a pact with him, Winter let Red go and inflicted a wound on his forehead, returning to Caesar in a panic and lied about Red breaking free and attacking him.
Winter returned with the apes to the refuge and took part in mourning the deceased as the apes wrapped the bodies and placed them in the running water. As a few chimps from above raised the alarm, Winter, with Caesar, Spear, Maurice, Luca and a handful of chimps returned to the dirt road and aimed their weapons at two figures on horseback approached from an arch, but the sunlight revealed them to be Rocket and Blue Eyes. Winter watched Caesar embrace his son and friend before bringing them into the waterfall. Inside the cavern, Winter saw Blue Eyes' mother Cornelia, with the young Cornelius, approaching and left them to enjoy their reunion.
As an emergency council meeting was held that evening, Winter sat on Blue Eye's left as the scarred chimp revealed the objective of his two-year mission to find a new home: an oasis located far inland beyond a vast desert. Taking a chance to not be part of the terrible encounter Alpha-Omega will enact, Winter motioned the council to have the apes leave for the oasis tonight, but Lake, Blue Eyes' mate, said it's impossible, but Winter attempted to bring reason by mentioning that the soldiers are getting closer to discovering them while expressing his fear. As Blue Eyes attempted to calm him, Winter brushed his hand away and grunted in anger, which made Caesar stood imposingly, which forces Winter to lower his head. Winter then told Caesar that Blue Eyes doesn't know how worse it's been for the tribes since the beginning of the war, but Blue Eyes expressed it's okay to be scared but to not give up. Winter stared at Caesar as the alpha agreed but stated the reality of the apes having a large number of escaping the woods without detection before assuring the tribe they will leave the woods safely. As Caesar and the apes Signed "Apes. Together. Strong.", Winter shifted his gate to the ground as he knew what was to come, unaware that Luca was growing suspicious of the albino's behavior.
That night as Colonel McCullough and two of the soldiers infiltrated the Ape Refuge, Winter managed to sneak out and left with the Colonel in the night for his self-preservation, but was unaware of the casualty his betrayal engendered.
Donkey and Death
By morning, Winter received the Alpha-Omega brand on his forehead and the "Donkey" tattoo on his back, being allowed in the Donkey fold with Red and the nine chimpanzees. Winter then saw the Colonel telling his troops he'll be taking a faction and proceeding back to their base at the border to prepare for the soldiers coming from the North. By sundown as the remaining Alpha-Omega forces settled at an abandoned campsite, Winter and Red served the forces soup, unaware that Caesar, Maurice, Luca, and Rocket, with a mute girl they've rescued, have found them.
While placing a tray with dirty dishes near the sink inside of a mobile kitchen tent, Winter looked at himself in a mirror with sorrow as he knew this is the life he would live for now, until he spotted Caesar's reflection. Turning in horror as he knocked the dishes in the sink, Winter stood paralyzed as Caesar demanded to know where the Colonel was. Spotting both Luca and Rocket standing at his sides, Winter chose to answer Caesar, revealing the Colonel left in the morning with a large group of Alpha-Omega soldiers and are going to meet more soldiers at a border. As Caesar approached the albino and asked what the border was and why, Winter said he doesn't know, and the remaining group will be heading there tomorrow before expressing that the North soldiers are coming to help Alpha-Omega wipe out the apes for good. Breaking down, Winter revealed his deal with Red and begged for Caesar's forgiveness, but the alpha revealed that Blue Eyes and Cornelia are dead, which horrified Winter and he realized Caesar has no intentions on forgiving him and wanted revenge.
Winter put away his lowered hand as he, Caesar, and Luca turned to see human shadows through the tent. Winter attempted to call them, but he felt Caesar whacking his face with his shotgun, and Luca placed his hand on Winter's mouth. Winter attempted to push Luca off, but Caesar and Rocket seized his arms and pushed him to the ground silently. As Luca moved to grab the albino's left arm, Winter attempted to call the soldiers again until Caesar wrapped his arm around his throat. With Luca and Rocket holding his limbs, Winter mumbled and struggled to make a noise, but Caesar, in his anger, applied more strength to silence the white ape, which led to asphyxiation. As the soldiers' shadows disappeared, Winter stopped breathing, which Luca and Rocket realized immediately but Caesar didn't noticed until he loosened his grip and Winter's head dropped.
Despite Winter's death, his actions still had a great effect on the other apes, as his cowardice and betrayal to the humans directly led to the colonel killing of the queen Cornelia and first prince Blue Eyes. His actions also made it more difficult for the apes to travel and indirectly led to the capture of the apes and to the deaths of many apes, including Spear and Percy.
Because of this, Winter will go down in history as a traitor and coward to the San Francisco Ape Colony who only hindered their progress to get to their new home. Willing to work as a slave to ensure his own survival at the cost of his own kind and betraying everyone who had ever cared about him. Winter's act of cowardice and betrayal not only disgraced himself, but also his entire legacy, and costed him the respect and faith his comrades once had for him. Winter ironically ruined his own life and caused his own death by betraying his people. Winter died as he lived - an ape ruled entirely by fear, willingly to selfishly sacrifice and forsake his own kind just to survive - a coward.
Though Caesar avenged his family by this accidental carnage, he was also haunted by Winter's actions psychologically as well, as Winter causing the death of Caesar's wife and son started Caesar on a dark path. Caesar killing Winter (albeit accidentally) made himself feel even more like Koba and had nightmares about it where a vision of Koba taunted Caesar about how "ape not kill ape". Later Caesar's journey for revenge caused the death of Winter's mentor while in the guard, Luca.
Winter betraying the location of the apes to the humans led to the deaths of Caesar, Cornelia, Blue Eyes and Luca respectively, indirectly making him responsible for Caesar, Cornelia, Blue Eyes and Luca's death.
War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations
Winter was shown to be timid and unsure of himself. He doubted his ability to be a useful member of the Gorilla Guard because his white hair made him easy to spot, which he perceived as weakness. He was shown to be very self-conscious of his albinism and it lead to a lack of self-confidence.
He looked up to Luca greatly, and the older gorilla helped gain confidence through reassurances that he was just as strong and useful as the other gorillas of usual coloring.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Winter also wasn't the bravest of apes, as he balked at every confrontation, and even cower in the face of danger. Winter was shown to be a coward. He became so scared for his own self-preservation that he betrayed Caesar to Red in return for being spared and to become a "Donkey" for his colony's enemies. These actions would eventually lead to his death at the hands of Caesar, albeit by accident.
When alone after serving the humans, he seemed to regret his choice after looking at the mirror, after confessing his betrayal, Winter seemed guilty as he pleaded with Caesar to forgive him, though it might be due to the latter's anger.
- Animal Strength: Like all gorillas, Winter was powerful and strong, despite this, Winter's strength was inferior compared to other gorillas; as he was overpowered by Red, a former member of the Gorilla Guard (off-screen). The ape king Caesar was able to catch Winter off-guard by pistol whipping and restraining him with help from Rocket and Luca placing his hand over Winter's mouth before he could sound an alarm, leading to him being (accidentally) suffocated to death by Caesar.
- High-Level Intellect: As the son of two evolved apes, Winter had a high level of intelligence; because his parents inhaled the ALZ-113 early in their life, Winter had a higher level of intelligence than both of his parents combined.
- Sign Language: Like his fellow apes, Winter knows american sign language; as he used it as a way of communication. Winter was taught the art by the older evolved apes.
- Speech: As the son of two evolved gorillas, Winter was born with the ability of speech, while his father (and presumably his mother) learned to speak later in life. He did not have any verbal lines of dialogue in War, so it was unknown how good his english was.
- Expert Hand-To-Hand Combatant: Due to him being a member of the Ape Army, Winter was a capable fighter, also like most gorillas, Winter uses his massive strength and speed in battle to make him a formidable opponent. However, Caesar was able to overpower him though with help, before he unknowingly suffocated him to death.
- See Winter/Relationships.
- Winter was the quaternary antagonist of War for the Planet of the Apes.
- Winter is a rare albino gorilla, instead of with the typically brown or black fur. Due to his white fur, the Alpha-Omega soldiers had to use black ink for the "Donkey" tattoo on his back.
- Winter's name and albinism may be based on Snowflake, an albino gorilla who was kept at Barcelona Zoo in Spain from 1966 until his death in 2003.
- Winter's father was one of the first in the Gorilla Guard; as confirmed in Revelations.
- Winter is the second ape to be killed by Caesar, after Koba. However, unlike his killing of Koba; Caesar accidentally kills Winter.
- In both the official novelization and a previous script draft of War, there was an extended scene showcasing Winter and Red feeding the remaining Alpha-Omega soldiers as Colonel McCullough took the majority and proceeded to their base at the border. In this scene, Boyle kicked his bowl at Winter after he spilled soup on the soldier's boot, which made the ape snarl in anger before Boyle pulled his gun out at him, frightening the ape. Preacher then attempted to defuse the situation, but Boyle called the latter "Donkey-Lover" and ordered Winter to get a new bowl. This scene was omitted in not contradicting the overall tone of the movie.
- Winter is the first albino gorilla in the franchise.
- See Winter/Gallery.
- War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations
- War for the Planet of the Apes
- War for the Planet of the Apes (BOOM! Studios)
- Planet of the Apes: Caesar’s Story