Malcolm is the main human protagonist of the 2014 science fiction film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He is the leader of a group of human, who trying to recovery from the simian flu that has nearly wiped out humans civilizations and forms a bond with Caesar and the apes.

He is portrayed by Jason Clarke, who also portrayed John Connor in Terminator Genisys.


Early life

Malcolm was married to a woman named Rita and had a son with her, Alexander. At some point, Malcolm worked as an Architect. When humanity fell victim to the Simian Flu, Malcolm befriended former major and police chief, Dreyfus and together they founded the San Francisco Human Colony but this came with a price. Rita became infected with the Simian Flu and died, leaving Malcolm a widower and a father forced to raise their then five-year-old son alone. As time wore on, Malcolm struggled to raise Alexander by himself as the boy grew older. At some point, Malcolm met and later married a nurse named Ellie and formed a makeshift family with her, not knowing that she too had lost her own family including her young daughter, Sarah.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Malcolm is the co-leader of the human colony residing in San Francisco. Having spent days in the muir woods searchin for a new power supply for the colony, Malcolm's group found traces of a dam warehouseand hoped to find it but did not know it was located beyond the mountain inhabited by highly intelligent apes. He appeared when one of his men, Carver accidentally shot a young chimpanzee, Ash out of fear. This act had the other apes rush to their aid upon seeing how Caesar organized his people Malcolm told the apes they don't mean any harm while Carver criticized him for talking to the apes Malcolm retorted if they look like "just apes". Malcolm had his group put their guns down as a sign of good will. Caesar, looks at the humans intently before yelling in (English) "Goooooo!!!" shocked Malcolm is forced to tell his group to run for their lives when they are yelled at by the other apes, knowing better than to argue. The group then headed back down the mountain and drove back to their hideout where they met up with their leader, Dreyfus whom they asked to get in the car to talk. As they rode back into the city, Malcolm told Dreyfus of what occurred saying it was amazing to see the apes talk while Carver was still freaked out by "talking apes with frigging big spears". Dreyfus told them while he doesn't know what they thought they saw and asked how many apes are there while Malcolm gave an estimate. Malcolm's group were then told to not speak of what occurred in the woods to avoid any panic in their hideout.

The next morning, Malcolm and his people then paid witness to the ape army (heavy in number and weapons) enter their city. Malcolm went to meet the apes while Dreyfus tried and failed to dissuade him from doing so. He then saw Caesar marching in front of his army and hears him say (in English) that the apes don't want war but will fight if they must. Caesar finished his speech by having his son Blue Eyes give Malcolm back Alex's sketchbook before telling Malcolm to never come back to his territory. Afterwards Dreyfus gives his frantic followers a speech, he and Malcolm then talk about the possibility of fighting the apes until Malcolm tells him to give him three days to talk with Caesar. Dreyfus reluctantly agreed though warning him if he isn't back in three days, then he'll lead a militia up to ape mountain and kill all of the apes with the guns from the armory. Malcolm returns to his home where he is lectured by Ellie about bringing Carver who shot one of the apes on sight but Malcolm said he was needed for his experience in working on Dams. Ellie then expressed worry about the dangers he would face if he went by himself and offered to accompany him. Malcolm thanking her for her concern assures her he'll be okay and tells her to watch over Alexander for him. However, Alexander walked in and said he was going as well forcing Malcolm to take them as well.

The next day, Malcolm and his group returned to the Muir Woods Park where Malcolm told his group to wait for him before saying if he doesn't come back in two hours they leave for the city before promising everything will be alright. With that he walked through the rainy area and entered the woods where he followed a trail of fallen animal remains, felled logs and barbaric warning sign posts that served as decorations to the Ape Gate.

Stepping through the gate, Malcolm was struck with amazement at the capabilities of the Evolved Apes. But in his time of fascination, Luca the gorilla emerged from his hut snarling at Malcolm which caught the latter's attention and shock. Luca intimidated Malcolm by standing upright then let out multiple roars to alert the other Gorilla Guardians who immediately came out of their huts to find Malcolm with Luca. Seeing their numbers, he quickly surrendered and was easily overpowered and captured by the gorillas who dragged him through the Ape Village for Caesar to pass judgment on the trespassing human.

Meeting with Caesar and surrounded by Apes, Malcolm begged for his life stating he remembered Caesar's warning about not coming back to the woods but he had to show Caesar something. Some of the apes accused him of lying and wanted him killed on the spot for his disobeying their orders. However, Caesar looking upon a pleading Malcolm let him live and allowed him to show what was needed to be seen by him. Malcolm then took Caesar and his followers to the San Francisco Dam where upon explaining to the apes about its concept, he asked if he and his group can work on it in order to contact other surviving humans. Caesar accepted this term on the condition that Malcolm and his group give up their guns to work on the dam.

Sometime later, Malcolm and his group set up camp in the woods where they proceeded to voice their distrust in the apes but Malcolm stated if the apes wanted them dead they'd have killed them already. Carver scolded Malcolm and Ellie for being more trusting to the apes than he was, reminding them of their own family members who were killed by the Simian Flu.

Having been given full access to the Dam, Malcolm and his group started working the next day while being watched over by the apes. The dam works were however jammed by the leack of maintenance and years of gathering wood/plant debris, which came crashing down and trapping Carver on the inside and piercing his leg. The apes helped Malcolm free his trapped group from under the landslide, although Rocket did so more grudgingly remembering that Carver shot his son Ash.

Malcolm later thanked Caesar for his people's help with rescuing his group when it seemed easier to let it be. Malcolm then watched Caesar's newborn son Milo wandered over to the human group and out of innocent curiosity interacted with them, for they were the first humans he ever saw. Malcolm looked on with amazement at the baby's natural playfulness, as if it proved that apes and humans could co-exist peacefully. The moment turned sour when Carver unleashed his uncovered shotgun and was set on attacking Caesar's sons, provoking a retaliation from Caesar who reminded Malcolm that he said no guns were allowed. Malcolm was distraught over being ordered to leave the ape mountain after coming so far in their progress, he marched back to the ape village to beg Caesar for forgiveness with Ellie chasing after him.

Malcolm and Ellie were brought before Caesar once again, this time in his house and was not in the mood to see them because his wife Cornelia was very sickly. The ape king didn't trust Malcolm anymore after feeling he was betrayed by Carver, yet he still promised Caesar that he would send Carver away and Ellie offered to help treat Cornelia with her medicines. Recognizing the better side of humanity, Caesar reconsidered his order and allowed the humans to stay for one day only. Malcolm tried to asked for more time, but Caesar was adamant in his restriction and was having no protest. The Ape King stated he and his people will aid the humans in working on the dam on the condition that the humans get rid of Carver as a sign of cooperation and to avoid further tension between the two groups.

Working harder and faster, Malcolm's group returned to the dam and with the help of the apes were near completion, but were held up when Koba assaulted Alexander in his search for Caesar. Malcolm stepped in to plead for his son's safety and Koba turned his attention to Malcolm as well before Koba was being warned off by Maurice. Malcolm witnessed Caesar's brutal argument with Koba over still letting the humans stay after they threatened his sons, watching Caesar angrily beating Koba until he remembered the "ape not kill ape" rule.

Eventually the apes and humans got back to working on the dam and the fruits of their labors proved successful when Malcolm's group finally started up the dam restoring power. Malcolm's group then enjoyed the sound of music playing in the newly powered gas station in the woods. Caesar re-established his trust in Malcolm for being honest and trustworthy, taking him and his group into the ape village to show them the city lights from afar. Later the sound of a gunshot was heard and the sight of Caesar falling from his home is shown, followed by the burning of the Ape Village along with the terrible cries of sadness and rage of the apes when Blue Eyes appears with a "human gun" and a baseball hat making it appear that Caesar had apparently been murdered by Carver. Maurice the orangutan wisely saved Malcolm and his family's lives by telling them to "Run" before they were caught, blamed and killed. Malcolm, Ellie and Alexander then escape into woods and hiding under hollow tree trunks where they avoided the stampeding apes, terrified of what has just occurred.

The next morning, Malcolm, Ellie and Alexander ran through the woods to get back to their colony before Ellie and Alexander came across the body of Caesar. But to their amazement, Caesar was still alive albeit barely, Ellie shouted for Malcolm to help them get him somewhere safe. Helping Caesar into their car, Malcolm began wondering where Carver got the gun or why did he this to them and started the incident, not understanding when Caesar corrected them that "ape did this". On the road searching for a safe place, they spotted their colony on fire in the distance, but Malcolm followed Caesar's direction back to the Rodman House. While tending to Caesar, Alex shows Malcolm a portrait of a man and a chimpanzee on the mantelpiece which makes him realize that this is the very house Caesar was raised in and his reason for being kind and sympathetic to them. Having lost so much blood, Ellie prompted that she could heal Caesar better with proper kit she kept back home in their colony apartment, so Malcolm decided he should be the one to go get the equipment stating Caesar is the only one who could stop this chaos.

As the Ape Army under Koba's command invaded the human settlement, Malcolm barely managed to find the right equipment for Ellie while trying to avoid getting caught or killed by the apes who were searching the city for any remaining humans, until he was caught in his apartment building where he was nearly killed when he came face to face with an armed chimp. Fortunately for Malcolm, the chimp was Blue Eyes who decided to spare him to Malcolm's relief. The young ape turned to leave but Malcolm stopped him by telling him that his father was still alive surprising the teenager.

Back at the Rodman house, Malcolm returned with the medical supplies and it turns out he led Blue Eyes back to the house as well. Malcolm watched Blue Eyes have a moment with his father but the young chimp was nearly set on attacking them when seeing his father's wound before Caesar stopped his son, revealing that it was Koba who shot him, not humans. Malcolm is later shown sleeping on the floor but went up to the attic where he stumbled upon Caesar viewing a video cam recording of his younger self being tutored in sign language by Will Rodman. Malcolm asked him who was the man on the video and Caesar simply replied: "A good man. Like you". Malcolm then told Caesar that his son hadn't come back yet and it's been two days since he left the House however, the two suddenly see Blue Eyes returning with other apes. Greeted outside by his most loyal friends and followers, Caesar decided it was time to undo the damage Koba had done and was accompanied by Malcolm.

Sneaking into the city past ape sentries, Caesar's apes and Malcolm headed for the subway where they were shot at by Dreyfus's group who escaped capture, Malcolm then shouted it was him and telling them not to fire at him. He then parted ways with the apes, remembering his "trust" agreement with Caesar.

Malcolm was then greeted by Dreyfus and his surviving men, asking for his help in planting C-4 charges under Koba's tower, planning to massacre the apes in revenge for their invasion. Malcolm reluctantly agreed and helped out, planning to delay Dreyfus. Taking a gun in hand, he aimed at the men and tried to stop them from igniting the explosives. Shocked and defiant, Dreyfus told Malcolm that they have already managed to contact another human colony's militia, asking for help against the apes, which they answered and were already on their way to the city. While Malcolm was shocked at hearing this news, Dreyfus quickly grabbed the remote before stating "I'm saving the human race" and detonating the charges on the tower, killing himself and his men, while Malcolm narrowly managed to escape the explosive field by ducking for cover.

Searching for Caesar, Malcolm was later captured and threatened by armed chimps until Caesar appeared and angrily ordered them to leave him be. Malcolm then advised Caesar to leave the city before the human army arrived or their would be all out war. Caesar refused and returned the advice to Malcolm, telling him that war was already started by the apes because of Koba's short violent reign, and the humans would never forget and never forgive the apes for what they did. The two sadly said their goodbyes and Malcolm slipped away out of sight before Caesar looked back to see he was gone. Malcolm's final fate along with that of his family is unknown, but it can be presumed that they are alive but forced to flee from the area to escape the impending war.

War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations

After Caesar took back his colony, Malcolm and his family stayed with Caesar for almost another week in knowing that soldiers were coming. The sympathetic human and ape watched sadly as the Daedalus came into the bay. After another battle on the bridge, Caesar insisted Malcolm, Ellie and Alexander left but sent Blue Eyes, Ray and Rocket with them to look for threats in the South. The last words the Ape King spoke to Malcom was the hope that they would meet again someday. As the allied apes and humans began their journey south down the peninsula, they came upon the ruined San Bruno Primate Shelter. Malcolm asks Rocket if he had lived there and the ape signs that he, Caesar, Cornelia, Maurice and Buck all had lived there. While Rocket swore never to enter the place again, Blue Eyes, Ray, Malcolm, Ellie and Alexander all entered the abandoned facility. Malcolm notes that long ago humans didn't treat apes fairly. Gunfire is then heard outside, Malcolm rushes outside and helps Rocket scare them away with their guns.

Malcolm and the others get back on the road and notice they are still being followed, presumedly by the same people that shot at them. Malcolm speculates that they are Dreyfus's remaining followers targeting him and his family as revenge for siding with the apes. Malcolm suggests splitting up, but Blue Eyes refuses, stating they were charged with seeing Malcolm and his family are safe when they depart. They come across a fork in the road and decide the apes will accompany Malcolm's family a little longer until they reach the coast and Malcolm's family will continue toward the mountains, where a few isolated humans live. They come across a group of humans burying their dead and Malcolm tries to explain to Blue Eyes about why humans need funerals to move on. Malcolm then tells Blue Eyes he recognizes the humans and will live with them. Malcolm tells Blue Eyes he is sorry things turned out this way and wishes them luck with their journey. At some unknown point, Malcolm returned north and came to ask Colonel McCullough to make peace with the apes and McCullough let him into his tent.

Planet of the Apes: Caesar’s Story

According to the War Novelization and Caesar's Story, Malcolm was let into McCullough's tent he begged him to make peace with Caesar and the other apes. Malcolm told the Colonel that Caesar was not just an animal, but also a great leader. McCullough dismissed this and promptly executed Malcolm for his support of the apes by shooting him in the head.



  • In the original script of War for the Planet of the Apes, Malcolm is revealed to have been killed by the Colonel McCullough. This was going to be said in the film but was scrapped. The only human ally that Caesar has in War is Nova.
  • Malcolm is very similar to Cade Yeager and Mark Russell:
    • Both are widowed
    • Both are parents
    • Both have families
    • Both are the main human protagonists (Malcolm for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Cade Yeager for Transformers: Age of Extinction and Transformers: The Last Knight, Mark Russell for Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
    • Both want to protect the real main protagonists and his species (Malcolm wants to protect Caesar and his apes, Cade Yeager wants to protect Optimus Prime and his Autobots, Mark Russell wants to protect Godzilla, Mothra and the Titans)
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