Beware; this article is dark and full of spoilers regarding INFINITY WAR and the fate of the Nova Corps!

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR was arguably one of the most highly-anticipated films of all time. Since its release, it has broken a multitude of records and has literally left fans speechless. The follow-up to INFINITY WAR hits theaters in May 2019. With this, the film is also rumored to be the final installment featuring heroes such as Captain America and Iron Man.

As a result, there is an inevitable fact fans are reluctant to acknowledge: the next era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though executives of Marvel Studios are pretty mum on what that era will entail, we are certain that future films will introduce fans to various Marvel Comics heroes that will lead the MCU into a new age.

According to the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, notable superhero, Nova, is in the cards to be a part of the MCU’s next generation. The question that remains though is, what role will he play?

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Introducing Nova. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Introducing Richard Rider

In 1966, writers Marv Wolfman and Len Wein created the character of Richard Rider, also known as Nova. However, the character would make his official debut in 1976 as a high school student whose life completely changes when he becomes a superhero. Now, how does an ordinary high schooler become a superhero obliged to protect the galaxy?

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Well, when the villainous alien Zorr destroyed Xandar and the Nova Corps, a galactic space force headquartered in Xandar, the dying Rhomann Dey found his replacement in Rider. As a result, Rider was granted his superpowers through the Nova Force, a force of near-boundless energy that was first utilized by the Xandarians long, long ago.

The Nova Force is overseen by the Xandarian Worldmind.

It is an entity that basically acts as a supercomputer and maintains all possible data regarding Xandarians and the Nova Corps. Thus, the force is powerful enough to grant Rider with powers such as superhuman strength and speed, flight, and energy absorption.

However, his coolest ability arguably lies in his power to open wormholes in space. This basically means he can travel anywhere within the galaxy by creating and transporting himself through these wormholes.

Now, don’t tell me that isn’t an epic power to have.

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John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014). Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Nova in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

So, if the terms “Xandarian” and “Nova Corps” are ringing a bell for you, there’s a reason.

The 2014 film GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY introduced the intergalactic police force known as the Nova Corps to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Additionally, John C. Reilly portrayed the character of Rhomann Dey, who in the comics was the alien who would select Richard Rider to fulfill the duty of a Nova Corpsman.

In this film adaptation though, there are no allusions to the Nova Force, the Xandarian Worldmind, or Richard Rider. However, that does not mean there were no allusions to the origins of Nova at all.

In GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the Nova Corps obtains the Power Stone to keep it safe from any entity who would use it for their own selfish gain. Unfortunately though, at the beginning of INFINITY WAR, we see that Thanos’ first addition to his gauntlet was the Power Stone. Eventually, Thor reveals that in the process of acquiring that Power Stone, Thanos obliterated Xandar to ash.

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Thanos acquires the Infinity Stone. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Fate of the Nova Corps

Although INFINITY WAR does not depict Xandar’s demise, it was quite heartbreaking to learn that the Xandarians met their end in such a brutal way. Though that does raise the question, what if someone made it out alive? The origins of Richard Rider’s career as Nova began as a result of Xandar’s destruction and a lone survivor of the Nova Corps. Interestingly, that lone survivor in the comic books, Rhomann Dey, is a character that Marvel’s live-action films have introduced.

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So, perhaps the events of INFINITY WAR will catalyze a new beginning for the MCU and the Nova Corps. Perhaps Dey will make a desperate attempt to maintain the legacy of the Nova Corps by seeking out his successor. However, that is only one theory among the various avenues the Marvel Cinematic Universe could possibly take.

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Richard Rider as Nova. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Introducing Sam Alexander

Now, though Richard Rider was the first to don the Nova title years ago, he has not been the sole Nova in comic book history. Sam Alexander is the latest to don the title of the intergalactic superhero. Introduced in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1, Sam was also a teenager when he was introduced to the power of the Nova Force. However, unlike Rider, Sam had always, albeit unknowingly, maintained a connection to the Nova Corps. In fact, his father was a Nova Centurion.

As a result, Sam decides to fulfill his father’s legacy and don the Nova helmet to protect the universe in its desperate hour. The Sam Alexander-Nova would later play a prominent role in the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN saga as he would join the fight against the then-Dark Phoenix: Cyclops. So, though Sam is a relatively new character in Marvel Comics, debuting in 2011, he has been present in quite the iconic Marvel event. As a result, the MCU could very well incorporate his character, instead of Rider’s, into its future slate of films.

Also, if the MCU plans on continuing the Dark Phoenix arc 20th Century Fox is establishing in their upcoming X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX film, who knows if the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN storyline could come to life on the big screen with Nova playing a large role in the crossover event.

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Sam Alexander as Nova. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Total Annihilation

Since his 1976 debut, Nova has had a multitude of engaging arcs. Most interestingly though, many of his stories feature the non-Earth bound heroes of Marvel Comics. As a result, these comics can be a new mode of exploration for the MCU. They would ultimately permit future films to explore the vastness of space beyond the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY films.

One of the more popular stories featuring Richard Rider, “Annihilation”, hit stands in 2006. The arc not only features Nova but multiple other cosmic Marvel heroes including Silver Surfer and members of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, one of the more memorable moments of this arc is the total destruction of the Xandarians and Nova Corps. If you haven’t realized yet, the Nova Corps has been obliterated multiple times throughout its comic book history.

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After this specific catastrophe though, Rider assumes the title of Nova Prime. Through this title,  he gains all of the power previously maintained within the Nova Corps. So, when I say all, I mean all the power that may have belonged to all the deceased Nova Corpsmen. Additionally, Rider gains control of the Xandarian Worldmind through the access of his Nova helmet. So, to put it simply, Nova gets a massive upgrade in “Annihilation.” This upgrade ultimately empowers him even more than he already was.

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Thanos and Nova by Timothy Brown

Bringing the Galaxy Back Together

So, an “Annihilation” storyline on the big screen would be a great way to centralize on Marvel’s best cosmic characters. Also, since audiences are familiarized with the Guardians of the Galaxy, crossing their future arcs with introductions of new characters, such as Nova, would be a great way to bring audiences into new characters and settings.

The “Annihilation” sequel, entitled “Annihilation: Conquest,” features a vast cast of characters led by Nova himself fighting alongside Star-Lord, Gamora, and, the one and only, Adam Warlock. Now, if you are a true Marvel movie fan and stay for the credits in their movies, you’ll know that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 2 features an allusion to Adam Warlock himself.

So, alongside Nova, Adam Warlock could lead the MCU’s next generation of cosmic superheroes. The six-issue series, THE THANOS IMPERATIVE, features both characters playing roles in a fight against Lord Mar-Vell of the Cancerverse. Interestingly, Mar-Vell is a character that CAPTAIN MARVEL will feature in 2019.

So, ultimately, the MCU has planted various points of potential growth throughout their current slate of films. Now, we can only wait, see, and hope that these points will result in the exploration of new regions of space.

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The New Warriors. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Introducing the New Warriors

AVENGERS 4 will mark the end of Marvel’s current Avengers roster. However, that does not necessarily mean that will be the last Avengers film. So, what we can expect is for new superhero squads to make their entrance into the MCU to fight with the Avengers.

One of those squads could be the New Warriors. Introduced in 1989, the squad has gone through a variety of rosters. Though, what has remained consistent is the inclusion of Nova. In the squad’s first roster, Richard Rider’s Nova was a prominent member. Now, the New Warrior’s roster features Sam Alexander as the cosmic superhero.

Interestingly, a New Warriors television series is currently in production. Oddly though, Nova is not in the series’ current lineup. Also, the series was originally picked up by Freeform but has since been dropped by the network.

So, based on Feige’s claims regarding a Nova film and the current status of the television series, the New Warriors may not necessarily be present in solely a television medium. If the show fails to come to fruition, Nova’s introduction in the MCU could be a catalyst for a new beginning for the superhero squad.

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Cosmic Power! By Max Bertolini.

Nova and the Marvel Universe vs. the Skrulls

Throughout his comic book history, Nova has faced off against The Sphinx, The Condor, and the Skrulls. Now, the comics have characterized the Skrulls as an alien race. They are also known to have a tense history with the Kree. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY introduced the alien species as well. In fact, Ronan the Accuser was a Kree himself.

Marvel Studios has confirmed that the Skrulls will play a large part in CAPTAIN MARVEL. Additionally, there will be allusions to the “Kree-Skrull War.” This arc does feature a vast cast of Marvel characters. So, if the MCU were to bring together its next generation of heroes, this arc could be an opportunity to incorporate characters Disney recently acquired from 20th Century Fox including the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer.

Marvel’s first family, as well as the cosmic superhero, have had quite the history with Nova, fighting alongside him in battles against Galactus and other evil, cosmic forces.

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So, in a post-INFINITY WAR world, Nova could be a huge player in the changes to come. Due to his power level alone, he could very well be a leader of future MCU squads and films. Additionally, he has played a role in plenty of epic Marvel Comics stories. And these stories that have yet to be told on the big screen.

What Lies Beyond

Not much is known about what lies ahead for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige has recently confirmed the production of a movie based on the Eternals. Beyond that, not much is confirmed.

However, we can infer that the consequences of INFINITY WAR and AVENGERS 4 will radiate throughout the universe to catalyze new beginnings for new protectors of the universe. Among those beginnings could very well be the origin of Nova. With a power source derived from a limitless force and a loyal comic book fanbase, Nova could be an unstoppable leader of Marvel’s newest generation.

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