After spending a decade of films building up the importance and danger of the Infinity Stones, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is open for more exploration than ever before. With heroes like Captain Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy returning to space in the wake of Avengers: Endgame, they could be looking to reinforce their numbers.
While Thor seemingly joined the Guardians at the end of Endgame, there are a number of comic book Guardians of the Galaxy veterans like Bug and Moondragon who haven't appeared in the MCU yet. However, the ultra-powerful original Nova, Richard Rider, is Marvel's most discussed potential new cosmic hero. In comics, that former New Warrior and fan-favorite hero took on a far more important role in Marvel's galaxies after the rest of the Nova Corps was destroyed, becoming one of its most powerful cosmic heroes.
While Rider is a fan-favorite hero, the MCU's first human Nova could be his younger counterpart, Sam Alexander. While he's still a relatively new character, this young hero has had roles in several marquee Marvel events over the past few years. Now, CBR is going to break down the case for why each of these heroes could show up in the MCU.
Earth's first Nova Corps centurion, Richard Rider is the logical first step in telling the story of Nova in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although he's been flying around the Marvel Universe since the 1970s, he became a far more prominent character in Annihilation, the cosmic crossover that reshaped Marvel's cosmos and led to the creation of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy. After Xandar, the Nova Corps' homeworld, was decimated, Rider had to shoulder the burden of keeping its remnant Worldmind, the sum total of the Novas' knowledge, safe.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos destroyed Xandar to acquire the Power Stone. This could be the catalyst for bringing Richard in, since Rider could essentially fall into his Annihilation-like role in the MCU.
Additionally, Richard has been part of several Guardians of the Galaxy rosters, so there are dynamics with the established MCU versions of these characters that can be pulled from the source material.
Having Richard join the MCU could also bring in his recurring villains and would escalate the stakes for any story he's involved with. In Annihilation: Conquest, for example, he battles a cosmically-enhanced Ultron. Adapting this story for the MCU could incorporate Ultron and other familiar, existing elements of the MCU, rejuvenating story threads that already exist.
Another candidate to take up the mantle of Nova in the MCU is the more recent, younger and slightly less experienced Sam Alexander. While he's still just a teenager, he has taken part in several important events in the Marvel Comics Universe in his tenure. So far, Sam has tackled a Phoenix-powered Cyclops, gone toe to toe with a powered-up Hulk and defeated an entire Chitauri fleet with the Ultimate Nulifier. So, his credentials are certainly there in the source material, given the tasks he's completed to date.
As a younger hero, he's enjoyed stints on some of the youthful teams in the Marvel Universe, including the Champions, the New Warriors and, briefly, the Avengers. It's certainly not difficult to imagine him working alongside the MCU's other young heroes like Spider-Man and Groot, or the other potential young Marvel heroes, like Monica Rambeau and Cassandra Lang, who are waiting in the wings.
It is also worth noting that Sam uses a Black Nova helmet, a helmet used by his father in an offshoot of the Nova Corps; not the Corps proper. This could provide a few jumping-on points for his origin and explain how the Nova helmet got to him when so many others were lost on Xandar.
While Sam is part of a new generation of heroes like Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales, who haven't quite made it to the MCU yet, he would be a great character for the next generation of Marvel fans and could help ensure the survival of the MCU.
Either one of these heroes would be a worthy addition to the MCU. Where Richard gives the universe a ready-made hero with an incredible power level, Sam provides a hero with longevity and a lot to learn. While Richard provides a supporting powerhouse role like a Thor or a Drax, Sam provides a coming-of-age hero who can be a conduit to many meaningful stories regarding young people with great power thrust upon them.
Ultimately, there’s certainly a compelling case for either of the heroes’ involvement in the MCU. If Marvel could find a way for two generations of Ant-Men, Hank Pym and Scott Lang, to co-exist in the MCU, the universe is probably big enough for two Nova Corps members to fly around, too.