With the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel introduced audiences to its cosmic line of characters. While the success of the movie opened the door for the studio to introduce even more of their wide array of galactic heroes and villains, there's one notable exception: Nova. While the Nova Corps was introduced as an intergalactic police force, the most famous Nova, Richard Rider, remains a no-show.
There are rumors that he could appear in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2," but James Gunn has been quick to shoot those down. Of course, that could just mean that he's trying to keep Nova a surprise, but it could also mean that Nova once again isn't showing up. He did tease Nova's appearance at some point, however. It had better be soon, though, because there are quite a few reasons that the character could be one of the best additions to the MCU! Here are just 15 examples.
15 Earth's Link to Space
Richard Rider was just a regular high school kid when he was chosen by a dying alien to become a member of the Nova Corps. At the time, that alien was the last surviving Nova, but the Corps was eventually rebuilt and Rider ended up joining. As a Centurion, Rider has a lot of responsibilities across the galaxy, but he still feels a strong connection to his home planet, Earth, where his family still lives.
A character like this is exactly what the Cinematic Universe needs. As it stands now, it doesn't really seem like Peter Quill has any interest in returning to Earth. The movies need a character like Nova, because he can literally show up anywhere but will always return to Earth. Also, Nova can be used like a cosmic Nick Fury, popping up for brief cameos across different movies to tie together seemingly unrelated events to build up to some of Marvel's cosmic epics, like "War of Kings" or "The Thanos Imperative."
14 The Annihilation Saga
There was a time, not too long ago, when Marvel didn't do outer space comics. Then came "Annihilation," which completely revamped Marvel's cosmic line. The story took many of the publisher's sillier concepts and updated them for modern audiences. The most noteworthy results are the modern Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course, Nova.
The first "Annihilation" features Nova teaming up with Star Lord to take down the Annihilation Wave, an armada led by Annihilus that was killing everything in its path. Gamora and Drax are around too, but the friendship between Rider and Quill is the star of the show. The movie would essentially be an intergalactic buddy cop adventure featuring the two wisecracking heroes fighting off waves of murderous robot alien bugs. That's literally the most awesome movie description ever written. Also, "Annihilation" would give them a chance to make a much better Ultron movie than "Age of Ultron."
13 Marvel's Green Lantern (But Good)
If a comic about a cocky guy coming across a dying alien who inducts him into an intergalactic super-powered police force sounds familiar, that's because it is. Nova is a pretty obvious rip-off of DC's Green Lantern, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The main difference between the two, really, is that Nova's powers aren't color based. Instead of distancing themselves from this similarity, Marvel could (and should) embrace it... and then make it better.
The current DC cinematic universe is actually the company's second attempt. Their first was aborted after the failure that was "Green Lantern." The Ryan Reynolds-starring film failed to connect with audiences and forced Warner Brothers to wait for "Man of Steel" before they could start having their heroes fist fight each other in sepia-toned warehouses. If Marvel can take the great concept that DC failed so spectacularly with, and turn it into a successful part of their movie empire, it would further cement its dominance at the box office.
12 Secret Avengers
Nova briefly joined Steve Rogers’ Secret Avengers, helping to keep watch for off-planet threats. When it’s discovered that Roxxon has a mining operation on Mars, Rogers sends Nova to investigate, where the Serpent Crown possesses him. Rogers leads a rescue team of black ops Avengers to the red planet, where Nova's Worldmind (more on that later) temporarily recruits Rogers to the Nova Corps. Once the Serpent Crown is defeated, Rogers relinquishes the Nova Force back to Rider. After this mission, Rider had to head back out to deep space, making this the only time he served as an Avenger; a short, but memorable stat.
In the movies, after “Infinity War,” it seems pretty obvious that the Avengers will be made aware of all the cosmic threats that they face. They need to start building up more galactic allies, and Secret Avengers proved how well Nova fits that role. Things need to get bigger in Phase 4, and having Richard Rider join a team of cosmic Avengers sounds like the perfect way to do it.
11 A Visual Treat
One of the complaints about the Marvel movies is that they sometimes feel like the same thing over and over again. That’s part of the reason why “Dr. Strange” was so successful, because it -- at least visually -- stood out from the rest of the Marvel movies. This is another area where Nova also shines -- literally! Nova’s powers are very visual, as he’s always crackling with energy and shooting off energy blasts while streaking through the cosmos at impossible speeds. Also, he’s the human rocket, a nickname he earned by always blasting himself into danger. He ricochets around battles in a blue and gold blur that has been a visual hallmark of his presence in the comics.
He can zip through black holes, get into fist fights on the surface of a sun and bounce around an asteroid field. Even his costume, with its golden (or black) Roman styled helmet, stands out from the rest of the pack. Nova can have adventures in places where no one else can go and fight creatures no one could even comprehend. "Guardians of the Galaxy" opened the door to cosmic adventure, but Nova is the only character that can fully explore it.
10 The Worldmind
When the Annihilation Wave destroyed Xandar, Richard Rider became the last surviving Nova. Not only did he have to absorb all of the power of the Nova Corps into his body, he also downloaded the Xandarian Worldmind into his brain. It wasn't an easy fit, as the Worldmind has a personality of its own. Rider is brash and headstrong, which clashed with the Worldmind, who is logical and calculating. It was basically like "The Odd Couple," only with slightly more aliens and space battles.
The Worldmind's knowledge of the cosmos and its secrets would be an obvious benefit to the heroes of the Cinematic Universe. Also, Marvel can use it the same way that they used the cosmic cube to set up multiple connected storylines, as also happened as recently as “Dr. Strange,” yet again neatly tying the movies into the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Worldmind’s knowledge and desire to combat threats would create a very easy way to merge multiple galactic threats without devoting too much story time explaining how everything fits together.
9 The New Warriors
Not everyone can just be an Avenger, or else they wouldn't be Earth's mightiest heroes. There has to be a place for younger, less experienced heroes, just like in the comics. That's where The New Warriors come in. Nova was one of the original members of the team, and he's been a fairly consistent presence since. There have been rumors that Marvel is planning a New Warriors TV series, but with Nova around, this team might be worth elevating to the big screen -- which is probably the only way it would work.
The current crop of comics TV programs struggle to show superheroes using their superpowers. Television budgets only allow for Speedball to to bounce so many times before it gets too expensive. This particular team is full of characters with a wide variety of powers, and the only way to do them justice is to give them a movie-sized budget. It's rumored that fan favorite Squirrel Girl would be a member of the MCU New Warriors. A lot of fun can be had with her squirrel powers, true, but if the budget isn't there to do them right, it'll just end up looking weird and cheesy... or should we say "nutty."
8 A Familiar Face
Marvel has a history of taking relatively unknown characters (to non-comic book readers) and turning them into household names. Nova could be the studios' next success story, especially considering that he’s in a better position than Iron Man and Star Lord were before their movies came out.
Nova is one of the main characters in the popular “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon. The show features the Sam Alexander version of Nova, a fellow hero in training who is a friendly rival to Peter Parker. That show also connected Nova to the Guardians of the Galaxy, who had teamed up with Alexander many times before the timeline of the show began. Young fans already know Nova and seem to have accepted him. Nova’s also appeared in a couple of video games, most notably in “Marvel vs Capcom 3.” This isn’t to say that every single movie goer already knows who he is, but he’s successfully crossed over into enough types of media to assume that film fans would embrace him just as lovingly.
7 The Fox / Marvel Bridge
We have to believe that, eventually, Marvel is going to get "Fantastic Four" and "X-Men" back from Fox. The "X-Men" films have been very hit or miss at the box office, and “Fantastic Four” has been pretty much all miss. At some point, Fox is going to realize that these movies are too expensive to make and they’re better off negotiating a deal with Marvel where Fox does less work and makes more money. This is what every Marvel fan is hoping for, anyway.
Like it did with Spider-man, Marvel would want to introduce these characters to the Cinematic Universe before giving them their own movies. Both the X-Men and Fantastic Four have strong ties to the cosmic world. In the same way, Nova could encounter the Phalanx, the Super Skrull or even Galactus in the far reaches of space, and then travel to Earth looking for guidance on how to handle these threats. Not only would this introduce the new characters, it would immediately set the stage for some of the epic storylines fans have been dying to see. For example, "Avengers vs X-Men" started off with Nova discovering the Phoenix Force and then frantically trying to get back to Earth in time to warn the heroes.
6 He is Very, VERY Powerful
For the majority of Nova’s existence, he was a relatively minor hero. Before "Annihilation," he was C-level,at best; a kid who had decent powers and a super lame catchphrase (seriously, no real person has ever said “blue blazes” and none ever will). Then, he absorbed the entirety of Xandar’s power, becoming Nova Prime. He went from being a guy who could get knocked around by minor villains to one of the most powerful humans in the Marvel Universe, able to throw down with heavy hitters like Gladiator. With the full Nova force pumping through his body, he would definitely be the most powerful hero in the MCU.
As Nova Prime, he defeated Annihilius, he’s gone toe to toe with Thanos, overcome a Phalanx infection, and has even held his own against the Silver Surfer. On Earth, he took on Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts with ease, fighting several A-list nasties at once. He even defeated Ego the Living Planet after Ego infected the Worldmind. Not many heroes can boast that they took on an entire planet and won!
5 The Thanos Imperative
Towards the end of "Annihilation," Thanos was killed and the universe was a safer place. That is, it was, until he came back as the Avatar of Death. During this period, a reality known as the Cancerverse -- a corrupted dimension where nothing died but withered with ravenous, unnatural life -- was attempting to spread into the mainstream Marvel universe. Eventually, Thanos found a way to bring death to the Cancerverse, dooming it (because he's Thanos). Since he still posed a major threat to mainstream Marvel Universe, Nova and Star Lord sacrificed their lives to prevent ol' pruneface from escaping the doomed reality before it collapsed.
Ever since the mid-credits scene rolled at the end of "The Avengers," everything has been building up to Thanos. The only problem is that he's only shown up in a few brief scenes since. While "Infinity War" is sure to be epic, it would be kind of a let down if that was his only appearance. Using "The Thanos Imperative" as a guide, Marvel can set up the next phase to focus on Nova leading the charge against the mad titan, bringing Thanos' story to the epic conclusion it deserves.
4 Sam Alexander
When Rider disappeared while fighting Thanos in the Cancerverse, it seemed as if the Nova Corps had disappeared with him. Then, Sam Alexander popped up, sporting a black Nova helmet. A 15 year old kid from Arizona, Sam's father was also a member of the Nova Corps, but had mysteriously disappeared. Sam eventually found his father's helmet and discovered that, when he put it on, it granted him the powers of Nova. While searching for his father, who was lost somewhere in the cosmos, Sam became a hero in his own right, eventually joining the Avengers and more recently, The Champions.
As previously mentioned, Sam is the version of Nova that is featured in the "Ultimate Spider-man" cartoon, so many fans are already familiar with him. By introducing Richard Rider's Nova, that also opens the door for this character to show up. Also, it'll be easier to introduce Sam without having to also explain the entire Nova concept. He can just show up, put on a helmet and start blasting around the galaxy.
Sam Alexander isn't the same type of Nova as Richard Rider. Rider's body is empowered with the Nova force. Sam, on the other hand, gets his power directly from his helmet, meaning that if he removes it, then he immediately loses his powers. This difference comes from the fact that Sam got his helmet from his dad, who was a Supernova, who wear helmets that have been upgraded to increase their wearers' power. While they were considered a group of elite Novas, these helmets have also been used by villainous characters, like Titus.
Unlike traditional Nova Centurions, anyone who wears the helmet gets the powers. In the movies, a lot of fun could be had with a concept like this. Any character can put on the helmet, so imagine a Hulk Nova, a Groot Nova or even that big giant ant from the end of the Ant-Man film becoming a Nova. Talk about a world of possibilities!
2 Team Ups
The glue that makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe stick is how often the various heroes team up with each other. The idea of Thor and Hulk going on a cosmic road trip after chatting with Dr. Strange is all fans need to hear to get excited for "Thor: Ragnarok." Luckily, Nova loves to team up with other heroes. He and Spider-man, for example, have a strong friendship (or rivalry, if they base Nova off the cartoons). He's also worked with both Captain America and Iron Man in the past, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Marvel Studios had better be planning on introducing Beta Ray Bill at some point. Bill is an alien with a giant horse face who proved worthy to wield Mjolnir. Odin was impressed by this and forged a new hammer for Bill to keep, a golden mallet called Stormbreaker. He's one of Marvel's weirder (and most powerful) characters, but that's just part of his charm. Obviously, he belongs in a Thor movie, but he's also teamed up with Nova several times. By having Nova around, Marvel has the opportunity to use Beta Ray Bill in more than just Thor movies, and as far as we're concerned, the more Beta Ray Bill, the better.
1 Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.
Sitting in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, ProjectP.E.G.A.S.U.S. researches alternative and advanced forms of energy, and occasionally acts as a prison for supervillains. During the events of "Secret Invasion," Nova rescued the base from a Skrull attack; his little brother, Robert, was working there at the time. While there, the scientists were able to extract the Worldmind from Rider's brain and also bring Wendell Vaughn, aka Quasar, back to life.
In the Cinematic Universe, Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. appeared in the beginning of the first Avengers movie. It was the facility S.H.I.E.L.D. was using to study the Tesseract, and was seemingly destroyed when Loki teleported to Earth through the cube. It was also revealed that Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. had developed a weapon based on the remains of the Destroyer. Since then, nothing has been heard of from P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Considering all of the alien tech that's been left lying around on Earth, they've probably been up to some pretty interesting things. With Nova's personal connection to the place, he makes a good excuse to bring P.E.G.A.S.U.S. back into the story.
Do you think Nova would be a great addition to the MCU? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!
"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2" arrives in theaters on May 5th, 2017.