- "Who... is... child?
I don't know.
But... she with you.
She has no one else."
- ―Caesar and Bad Ape talking about Nova in War for the Planet of the Apes
Sometime before the events of War, Nova was one of the few humans that survived Simian Flu. Nova, having been infected by the virus, is a mute, and consequently she was ordered to be killed by Colonel McCullough who despised the apes for their animalistic natures and feared for their strength and intelligence that could potentially overrule humans.
However, a portion of McCullough's followers were sympathetic to the demise of their family and friends who were infected by the virus and decided to rebel against McCullough's black-and-white sentiments; to him apes can never be human and therefore humans that behave like apes are no longer humans. As a result, Nova was hidden and cared for in a cabin by a soldier, who probably had medical knowledge and is experimenting on her to get a cure for the virus.
War for the Planet of the Apes
After Caesar shot Nova's caretaker dead; he, Rocket, Maurice and Luca heard a loud crash coming from her house. They investigate and find that the crash was made by Nova knocking down a shelf of glass jars containing food before she ran back to bed.
Nova is first seen hiding in her bed with her nose bleeding, scared at the sight of the apes who intruded into her caretaker's shelter with fire arms. Her caretaker, an escaped soldier from Colonel McCullough's army, was killed by Caesar outside Nova's cabin. Seeing that Nova was all alone Maurice decides to take her with them. She followed Caesar's gang to track down McCullough, who killed Caesar's first-born son and wife.
Along the path, they meet Bad Ape, who initially mistakes them for humans due to the girl, who he proceeds to give the wordmark of a Chevy Nova. While on their way to the border, Caesar gets ambushed by an Alpha-Omega soldier that causes the death of Luca, which saddens Nova greatly, and she repays his kindness by placing her flower in his ear.
When they make it to Colonel McCullough's army base; she sees that Caesar was held prisoner. Knowing that she had to do something Nova snuck into the camp to tend to the Ape King by giving him food, water as well as her plushie (also unintentionally causing the suicide of McCullough). Hearing that the Colonel was coming Caesar tells her to hide and with Rocket acting as the distraction she was able to make it back to Maurice and Bad Ape. During the rescue attempt she works with her adoptive father to save the apes and he calls her brave for doing so; she also asks if she is an ape now. She was initially nameless, but was named "Nova" by Maurice to match the words on the gift "Bad Ape" gave her.
She, Lake, Maurice and the children manage to escape but witness an explosion fearing for Caesar's safety. But the explosions cause an avalanche which buries the remaining army but the colony manages to escape by climbing the treetops with the war over. Nova comes with the apes to their new open and plays with Cornelius, Bad Ape and the other children as she was adopted into the ape community, not as an ape, but as a person of her own.
Throughout the movie, Nova played a key role to disprove McCullough's sentiments, by being an analogous representative of ape-like humans, to allow for opportunities for both the apes and ape-like humans to show their humane sides of compassion, grief and kindness. Nova might also represent a promising future for a harmonious coexistence between apes and humans.
Even though, Nova is a mute, at first she was frightened by the apes. However, as she begins to travel with them, Nova sees the Ape Army's good side and quickly learns one of their most important laws "Apes Together Strong". When Caesar and his apes are held prisoner, Nova is the only one that shows them compassion and kindness as they did for her.
She is also very brave as pointed out by Maurice before they rescue the other apes and when she goes to help Caesar during his capture at the Alpha-Omega camp. But she also a bit reckless, by going to help the Ape King she ran the risk of being executed by the Colonel.
Nova also expresses great concern over those she cares about, like Luca when he dies while protecting Caesar and becomes saddened by his death and Caesar when he almost got caught in the avalanche.
By the movie's end, Nova is also playful when she runs off to play with the other young apes including Cornelius in their new home.
- Sign Language: Nova knows American Sign Language, she uses it as a method of communication to talk to other humans and apes alike. She was taught by Maurice; due to Nova being infected by the Simian Flu, as she is permanently unable to speak.
- Nova reportedly serves as a younger counterpart to the original Nova in the first two films, though their eras of existence are separated by almost 2,000 years. Nova in War, is mute, just like the original Nova was.
- The first human to be raised by apes.
- Entertainment Weekly revealed that the character's name was Nova.
- The name is widely known within the Planet of the Apes universe as the name has been carried by characters in both the original film series and in Tim Burton's version.
- It has been said that Amiah Miller (Nova) formed a close bond with Karin Konoval while the film was in principal photography.
- See Nova (CE)/Gallery.