We examine the news of an impending Nova movie or series from Marvel and consider how it factors into their franchise plans.
Marvel Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Marvel shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry explores the idea of a possible Nova movie or Disney+ series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Despite playing in space with Thanos, Thor, Captain Marvel, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never fully escape an Earthly orbit. It’s an issue that’s routinely brought up in the comics (in both Marvel and DC books), as readers are landlocked to their planet, which egotistically roots it as the catastrophic center of the universe. If war must happen, it must happen here. Always.
But more opportunities to hang in the deep, never-ending cosmic void could grow more frequently. Deadline reports that Marvel is finally making some progress on a potential Nova adaptation. We don’t know whether this latest MCU entry will appear theatrically or on Disney+, but we do know Moon Knight writer Sabir Pirzada is locked to his desk, click-clacking away on a script.
You should recall that the Nova Corps played a significant role in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. They were the space cops who protected Xandar against Ronan the Accuser when he attempted to bring the hammer down. The Corpsman with the most lines in that film was Dey, played by John C. Reilly, and while it’s probable that the actor will return for this new Nova project, it’s unlikely he’ll be the star.
According to the news, the story will focus on Richard Ryder as the central protagonist. After all, he is the first human to join the Corps, first appearing in The Man Called Nova #1 in September 1976. However, the character’s creation is a little more complicated than most Marvel properties. Before he was Nova, he was The Star, a character created by Marv Wolfman who first appeared 10 years earlier in the fanzine Super Adventures #3. A few issues later (specifically, #6), another writer, Len Wein, helped Wolfman retool the character into Black Nova, a super-powered prisoner named Kraken Roo.
When Wolfman eventually nabbed a job at Marvel Comics, he dusted off the Black Nova concept. With artist John Romita Sr., he revamped the character into Richard Ryder, the Man Called Nova. The updated version explored what happened when the last surviving Xandarian, Rhomann Dey, crashed upon Earth and selected high schooler Richard Ryder as his replacement before perishing.
Oooooh, John C. Reilly’s time in the MCU could be coming to an end. The last we heard about Xandar’s fate was in Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos decimated the planet when he went looking for the Power Stone, which was left under guard by the Nova Corps. Dey’s team did such a piss poor job protecting the jewel that their failure was denied any screentime.
Now, if the Nova origin sounds somewhat familiar, don’t fret. Yep, the Nova Corps is essentially a Green Lantern rip-off. Instead of Abin Sur, we have Rhomann Dey. In Hal Jordan’s shoes, we have Richard Ryder. Both humans answer the intergalactic call, protecting their home turf from numerous alien threats. Once you push past the similarities, you’re left with two entirely different creative houses doing their thing. Where you fall along those publishing lines will probably determine which version you prefer.
Just like Green Lantern, many humans have donned the Nova costume. Also, like Hal Jordan, Richard Ryder has kicked the bucket once or twice. That’s just comics.
My personal fave Nova Corps member is Sam Alexander. He’s the Miles Morales to Richard Ryder’s Spider-Man or the Kamala Khan to Richard Ryder’s Captain Marvel. He’s the young upstart who discovered his deceased father’s Nova Corps gear and joined after a visit from Rocket Raccoon. He screws up as much as he kicks ass, like the best teenage superheroes.
On Disney+, Marvel Studios is slowly assembling a Young Avengers crew. We’ve got Kate Bishop on Hawkeye, the twins Wiccan and Speed from WandaVision, Patriot from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel. Sam Alexander is fairly chummy with them in the comics, especially Kamala. He could easily slide into their gang.
Although, we shouldn’t assume Richard Ryder will be a full-grown adult in Nova either. He did start as a teen superhero, and before the Young Avengers, there were the New Warriors, and Richard Ryder was their celestial muscle. He fulfills that brash first-through-the-door egomaniac role quite nicely. He puts on the macho to mask his insecurity, and he’d easily bump up against Patriot’s potential leadership.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Indeed, Nova is incoming. We’re going to see more cosmic stories to run parallel with the Multiverse madness perpetrated in the Doctor Strange sequel, Season 2 of Loki, and Ant–Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Nick Fury is still floating around in space, where we last saw him at the end of Spider–Man: Far From Home. He’s returning to Earth just in time for the Secret Invasion Disney+ series involving sleeper Skrulls infiltrating our governments and possibly the Avengers.
If Nova could spring from any current Marvel show in development, Secret Invasion would be the one. Richard Ryder’s origins are not necessarily linked to Skrulls, but they’ve had plenty of run-ins over the years. Of course, pick any Marvel character, and you could say the same thing. The Skrulls have been around since 1961’s Fantastic Four #2.
From what we’ve seen of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Ms. Marvel, interstellar exploration will also factor into those stories. Even with one eye on other dimensions, the MCU has the other one pointed to the stars. Their canvas is expanding. We’ll never ditch Earth — it’s our bloody Tatooine — but we’ll be hanging out elsewhere more and more.