Rod Serling's 'Planet of the Apes' Script Inspires Graphic Novel (Exclusive)

'Visionaries' adapts the 'Twilight Zone' creator's unproduced original screenplay for the 1968 sci-fi classic.
Paolo Rivera/Boom! Studios

A lost piece of movie history will be rescued this summer, as Boom! Studios and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products partner to bring Rod Serling's original Planet of the Apes vision to life for the first time in the graphic novel Planet of the Apes: Visionaries.

The Twilight Zone creator was the first screenwriter to adapt Pierre Boulle's novel for the screen, and his draft differs in some important ways from the finished movie — not least of which being that Thomas (not Taylor) discovers an entire modern city filled with apes in a parody of contemporary life, rather than the village seen onscreen. Visionaries uses Serling's screenplay, along with original concept art and makeup tests, as the basis for the graphic novel, with The Simpsons writer Dana Gould and Avengers: Origins artist Chad Lewis responsible for turning it into a complete comic book experience.

"As someone who knows the original films by heart, I’m honored to present Rod Serling's original vision to the public," Gould tells Heat Vision. "It's the world you know, yet it's also very different — very political, very Rod Serling. For me, this is all about him."

Lewis describes Visionaries as "an awesome project to work on because Mr. Serling's original vision, as told by Dana, really took some great chances both visually and narratively. The end result is a wholly unique story that was a blast to illustrate."

The book is part of Boom!'s 50th anniversary celebrations of the franchise, which launched in 1968 with the first Charlton Heston vehicle. Other releases have included miniseries, collected editions of classic material and even a coloring book.

"I've been lucky to work on so many Planet of the Apes comics, from [those based on] the original 1968 film that started it all, to the modern movies, to the archives collecting the classic comics, so to be able to rediscover the world through the original imagination of Serling with Dana and Chad has been an incredible gift," explained editor Dafna Pleban. "I can't wait for fans to see what we have in store!"

Planet of the Apes: Visionaries, featuring a cover by Eisner Award winner Paolo Rivera, will be released in August.

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