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The Planet of the Apes reboot series has done an excellent job with charting the development of Caesar and his ape allies, but with each new installment in this series comes a brand new cast of human characters. This wasn't as much an issue for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes since it can be assumed that most, if not all, of the humans in Rise of the Planet of the Apes died from the virus outbreak. But for War for the Planet of the Apes, there won't be any mention on what happened to Dawn's main human characters. Fortunately, director Matt Reeves has cut fans a break and revealed what happened to Jason Clarke's character, Malcolm: he was killed by Woody Harrelson's Colonel McCullough. When asked if Clarke and Keri Russell's Dawn characters were ever mentioned in a War script, Reeves revealed:
Yeah, they were, actually. Specifically Jason's character was, and it was a disturbing discovery. The Colonel had revealed some information about a man who'd come to him when he first got to the city and impressed upon him how important it was to find Caesar, and to tell him that he needed to create peace with this man. That this ape was not just an ape, but was a great leader, and he thought that this guy was crazy. And now [the Colonel] said in the scene, he goes, 'I se what he meant.' And then Caesar says, 'Well, what happened to him?' And The Colonel said, "I killed him." And then [Caesar]'s is perplexed as to why, and The Colonel says, "His ideas were very dangerous because the ideas were like a virus and they could spread to others, and right now this is a fight for humanity." So that's what happened.
Matt Reeves then started to explain in his interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast why this scene was taken out of War for the Planet of the Apes, but he cut himself off for fear of divulging any spoilers. It's possible this moment might be included as a deleted scene on the War home media release, but if it isn't, at least Planet of the Apes fans know what happened to Malcolm following Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, even though it was a tragic demise.
Malcolm was introduced in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as one of the leaders of the human colony in San Francisco, and upon meeting Caesar, he tried to build an alliance with the ape leader. However, due to Koba's betrayal and Dreyfus making contact with military forces up north during the ape invasion, the war between humans and apes was officially set off. After bidding goodbye to Caesar, Malcolm left to reunite with his family. Now we know he continued to try to establish peace afterwards, and unfortunately, it cost him his life. We can only hope that Malcolm's wife, Ellie, and son, Alexander, escaped before either The Colonel killed them too or before the bloodshed erupted between the two sides.
You can see War for the Planet of the Apes in theaters now. Be sure to read our review of the movie, and keep checking back with CinemaBlend for news on the future of the Planet of the Apes franchise.