A new clip from War for the Planet of the Apes depicts Caesar meeting the human orphan Nova. In the original Planet of the Apes, Nova was a mute human woman who became the love interest of the hero Charlton Heston. The character was played by Linda Melson Harrison, an actress who was chosen as much for her looks as any acting ability, and didn’t get to do much except be an object for male audience members to gape at as she paraded around in an absurdly skimpy outfit.
The character of Nova is back for War for the Planet of the Apes, but she doesn’t look anything like her original incarnation, and her purpose inside the story has evolved immensely since the original film. The new Nova is played by the young Amiah Miller, and in this story she is adopted by the orangutan Maurice while he and Caesar are on their quest to find The Colonel and his army after the war that ravaged the apes and set Caesar on a path toward revenge.
20th Century Fox has released a new clip that sets up the character of Nova and her relationship with Casear, Maurice and his band of apes. In the somber video, the apes encounter the mute orphan child living in a crumbling house and give her a name (the inspiration for the name “Nova” turns out to be the nameplate off a Chevy Nova). Maurice knows sign language and so is able to connect with the unspeaking child, and wishes to bring her along despite the protestations of Caesar.
The clip sets up one of the movie’s apparent themes, that of ape-human unity. The three Apes films have shown Caesar’s arc as he progressed from a child with emerging intelligence to a leader of his people in their war against humans to now someone older and wiser and seeking to build a new world. The clip teases that Nova is a key to apes and humans burying the hatchet and finding a unified purpose.
Many of the other materials we’ve seen from War for the Planet of the Apes have played up the film’s action elements and teased the conflict between Caesar’s apes and the human soldiers led by Woody Harrelson. This clip is more about setting up the film’s underlying themes and quest elements while showing some emotional moments and of course giving an idea about how Nova fits into the new story. Later in the clip, we see Casear sort of growling at Nova in resentment, but later Nova shows her compassion for the apes by giving them water while they’re caged up and signs the apes’ slogan “Apes together strong.”
The changes in the Nova character from the old Planet of the Apes movies to the new one perfectly point up how the concept has evolved over the decades. In the original Nova was just someone to leer at and a damsel for Charlton Heston to save, because the film for all its virtues was mostly just a silly adventure movie, but in War for the Planet of the Apes Nova is a character who carries legitimate thematic weight in a film that clearly takes its world and its story very seriously.
Source: 20th Century Fox