Nova In The Next Phase Of Marvel Movies? James Gunn Gives An Update

Richard Rider Nova Marvel Comics Annihilation

The cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe offers up an incredible number of options for filmmakers going forward. The franchise so far has barely scratched the surface when it comes to space-set stories, and as a result there are hundreds of characters just waiting to make their big screen debut. One such individual is Nova a.k.a. Richard Rider -- and writer/director James Gunn recently had some very positive things to say about his potential involvement in the future of the MCU. Asked specifically about Nova during a Facebook Live chat, Gunn said,

Yes, definitely. Nova comes up occasionally as someone we might use. One of the things I'm doing with creating Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it will take place after the next two Avengers movies, and it will help to set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies. It's going to really expand the cosmic universe. We're going to be setting up new characters. It will be the last movie with this version of Guardians of the Galaxy.

An intense expansion of the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been teased ever since James Gunn became officially attached to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 a few months ago, and during today's FB Live session he made it very clear that Richard Rider a.k.a. Nova has been featured in discussions in that arena. The filmmaker was asked specifically if there have been talks about introducing the hero in the movies, and Gunn noted that Nova is one of many important figures who could be featured in the next 10-20 years of big screen sci-fi storytelling from Marvel.

First introduced back in 1976 (and notably sporting an origin very similar to DC's second Green Lantern), Richard Rider was created by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema as the lead of his very own Marvel comic. Introduced as a high school student living in New York, his life his changed when he meets dying Nova Corps officer Rhomann Dey, who has chosen Richard as his replacement. The uniform and powers give him superhuman strength, as well as the ability to turn himself into a human rocket -- which comes in handy as he fights evil both on Earth and in the cosmos.

In the comics, Nova has been popular for years as both a solo character and as a member of the team the New Warriors -- though we may not get to see that particular ensemble on the big screen due to the television show that is currently in development. Instead, it would actually be much more likely that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would adapt the most recent version of Richard Rider, who experienced some rather intense trauma a little more than a decade ago during the Marvel Comics event Annihilation. While serving as a member of the Nova Corps on Xandar, the entire planet was attacked and destroyed, leaving Richard Rider as the only surviving member. In order to preserve the history of Xandar and the Nova Corps, he winds up being "uploaded" with the Xandarian Worldmind, a living super computer. This gives him instant access to incredible amounts of information, but it's also an incredibly important responsibility and burden that he carries.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has already done a good amount of groundwork for the introduction of Richard Rider, as the franchise has already included Xandar, the Nova Corps, and even Rhomann Dey (who was played by John C. Reilly and promoted to Denarian in the first Guardians of the Galaxy). So when will the character be introduced? Only time will tell at this point, but it would certainly be nice if the answer were "soon."

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Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.