‘War for the Planet of the Apes’: Is Nova the Same Nova From the Original?

20th Century Fox Nova in War for the Planet of the Apes.

War for the Planet of the Apes features an adorable little girl character named Nova, which instantly makes fans think of Nova from the original Planet of the Apes. So since this is a prequel, is the little girl actually supposed to be the same character as the adult woman in the 1968 film?

Nova in War for the Planet of the Apes was given that name as a tribute to the original, but she is a completely different character. This is something that was confirmed by director Matt Reeves in an interview.

“Obviously, Nova is a character who relates to Nova – isn’t literally Nova – but is related to the trajectory of why can’t the humans speak,” Reeves said, according to Fandom. “Well, Nova is our answer for why the humans don’t speak in the ‘68 movie.”

If you remember hearing that the two Novas are the same, that’s probably because Entertainment Weekly reported as much last year. However, this turned out to not be the case.

After all, it doesn’t make sense in terms of the timeline for Nova to grow up to be the character we know from the Charlton Heston version. The original Planet of the Apes is set in 3978, whereas War for the Planet of the Apes is set in 2028.

If it weren’t for the timeline not working out, however, it sure would seem like two Novas are the same. In the 1968 original, George Taylor discovers a tribe of primitive humans who can not speak, one of whom is a grown woman named Nova. War for the Planet of the Apes specifically goes out of its way to explain why humans are losing the ability to talk, and so when we see a young girl named Nova who can’t speak in a Planet of the Apes movie, our mind immediately goes to Linda Harrison’s character in the first film.

These rebooted Planet of the Apes films have been known to name characters after characters from the original, even when they’re not meant to literally be the same. For instance, Caesar’s son is named Cornelius, which calls to mind the character of Cornelius from Planet of the Apes, but obviously they are not related. We also meet a chimp in Rise of the Planet of the Apes named Bright Eyes, a nod to Taylor’s nickname of Bright Eyes in Planet of the Apes. 

For the most part, the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy is pretty far removed from the original series, and so while the filmmakers did throw in these Easter Eggs for longtime fans, they did not attempt to directly connect the films other than showing the spacecraft from the original taking off in Rise.