Miller’s character is named Nova, a throwback to the original 1968 Planet of the Apes. In that movie, actress Linda Melson Harrison played a mute adult female who lives with the apes. This version is not necessarily the same woman; it’s meant as more of a gesture to the world’s origin. Nova came into play early-on during the writing process, which included a month where Bomback and Reeves watched tons of old movies for inspiration, including John Ford’s 1956 Western The Searchers.
"Matt was attached to the idea of The Searchers and a woman who was raised among Native Americans and the idea of whether she’s gone native or not," Bomback explains. "We knew we wanted someone young, out of their element, and that was the genesis of it. I don’t remember the exact moment in time when we said, ‘Wait, her name will be Nova!’ But we liked the idea of paying homage to the original film and having a character named Nova."
The script is a hybrid of several genres, including Westerns, war films and Biblical epics. The writers liked the idea of Caesar as this mythical, Moses-like figure who ascends from humble beginnings to become the center of ape lore. War For the Planet of the Apes is the culmination of his journey, which is decidedly emotional in its scope. He is tasked with saving his species, but he also deals with great personal tragedy and has to find his own sense of humanity again. In that way, it’s similar to Logan where a gruff protagonist needs the feeling of being a parent to reveal his empathy.