In the original Planet of the Apes, the reason for their travel forward in time is their near light speed travel, which causes time to move slower for them. This is scientifically accurate, allows them to know the Earth year through calculations, and seems to be abandoned later on.

Suddenly in the sequels, they encountered some sort of vortex that pushed them forward in time, and allows travel in the opposite direction.

Why would they hastily abandon what had been established in the original? Do the sequels remove the original reason for their jump ahead in time?

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    Are you asking for the out-of-universe reason they did this? If so, my guess is that it was because when they made a sequel they thought it would be the only one, but then when that was successful they wanted to do more, and yet if you know the ending of "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" you should be able to see they had sort of written themselves into a corner with regards to continuing the series, so they introduced backwards time travel. To confirm you'd need to check a behind-the-scenes source like this.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 18:16
  • We should be careful about the use of the term "scientifically accurate" here. Until we've actually travelled at close to the speed of light, these are all just theories, after all. Wormhole theories are as respectable as relativity's time dilation, as far as I can tell, and they allow the idea that the two ends of a given wormhole could be displaced in time as well as in space. Cheesy SFX aside, I think the "vortex" presented in the new films is as valid as time dilation for how the hero got so far into the future, and actually better in terms of getting him back to the present..
    – Steve-O
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 15:05
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    @Steve-O: While not close to the speed of light, relativistic time dilation has been practically observed, as opposed to any sort of travel through a wormhole. Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


Yes the sequels following Beneath the Planet of the Apes do remove the original reason (relativity) and substitute the Time Warp.

They also conveniently ignore the technological level of the Ape's society. In the first two films the apes are at still the horse and cart stage, how then did they salvage Taylor's sunken space ship and figure out how to operate it, in such a short time frame? (Beneath the Planet of the Apes starts directly after the events of Planet of the Apes).

It would have been impossible, and as Hypnosifl stated in their comment they had written themselves into a corner with the ending of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. (I do believe that Charlton Heston was opposed to any sequels to Planet of the Apes and only returned for the second film if they agreed to kill off his character and end the film in such a way as to prevent any more sequels being made).

To answer your question, they removed any sort of attempt at scientific accuracy to continue the franchise.

There is also a theory that explains why they ended up back on Earth after departing on an interstellar journey.



No. They are simply building on what is currently guessed or suspected about the nature of time. Just as Newton's laws of motion was 'the best we had at the time' (which improved Kepler's laws), has been in turn improved.

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    New information about how time works did not come out between 1968 and 1970. In fact the 1968 explanation is still the most accurate with what we think now.
    – Ethan
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 17:57
  • Apparently I've misunderstood your question. Could you expand/clarify it a bit?
    – Morgan
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 18:07
  • @Ethan sorry I neglected to direct that comment to you. Could you clarify your question?
    – Morgan
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 18:39

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