Okay, you’ve killed everybody, you’ve literally blown up the planet of the apes, how the hell do you continue the story? Enter writer Paul Dehn (who wasn’t as impressive on Beneath) who came up with the brilliant notion that while the war was being fought, Cornelius (Roddy McDowall returns), Zira and Dr. Milo (Sal Mineo) are able fish Taylor’s ship out of the lake it sank in, figure out how to get it operational and launch it into space (okay, that part is stupid, we’ll give you that), and that while in orbit Earth is destroyed, and the shockwaves propel the ship backwards in time to six months after Taylor took off. What follows is a reversal of the first film, where the three apes (soon cut down to just Cornelius and Zira...bye-bye Milo) are on a planet of humans. At first they’re treated as celebrities as the film goes for a light comic touch, but then a growing paranoia takes root that if these talking apes aren’t eliminated, generations hence they will pose a threat not only to the human race but Earth itself (personal musing: if you’re a talking chimp, never get drunk and reveal too much about the future). This becomes even more paramount when Zira announces she’s pregnant, triggering an armed ape-hunt.
Zira gives birth in a circus thanks to the kindly Armando (Richardo Montalban, who Star Trek fans know as Khan and others might know from Fantasy Island) and her baby survives. Frak you, humans, trying to mess with the future. You’re goin’ down!
Associate Producer Frank Capra, Jr.: “There are people who think that Escape is the best of all of them. Obviously the first is truly the best and was the most unique. It also had the problems of dealing with the makeup, which was very difficult and important to the project. Once that was done, making sequels was not as hard. But this was a very different kind of picture. In the end, we did something that a lot of people said we couldn't do: another successful sequel.”