Thanos is out to kill the Avengers in Infinity War, but he may create a new Marvel movie superhero in the process. Marvel fans have hoped to see Nova join the MCU for years, as the Avengers-focused films have shifted farther and farther from planet Earth, and deeper into the alien powers of Marvel’s Cosmic Universe. Those two worlds collide thanks to Thanos in Infinity War, but the evidence suggests Avengers 3 may also act as the origin story for Richard Rider a.k.a. Nova, the last survivor of Xandar.
Previously director James Gunn explained that he didn’t want to use Nova in Guardians of the Galaxy “right now,” but that has changed. Since then, Gunn has taken a larger role guiding the future of Marvel’s cosmic movies, teasing that while details are under wraps for now, the two Infinity War movies and Guardians 3 will guide the next ten to twenty years of stories.
It seems a foregone conclusion that Nova will emerge eventually. So with two Avengers movies and Guardians 3 incoming, it should come as no surprise that Infinity War looks to finally make Nova’s entry into the MCU possible. Provided fans notice the clues…
Thanos Already Has The Power Stone in Infinity War
Considering that the audience knows where each Infinity Stone now lies (thanks to their introductions in preceding MCU films), the lack of Infinity Stones in the marketing is a good thing. If fans knew which stones Thanos acquired in which order, a fairly clear picture of the plot would come into focus. The directors are urging Infinity War fans not to spoil the story ahead of time, confirming there are twists in store.
But the Infinity Gauntlet had to have some Stones in it in marketing to get the point across, if nothing else. And so the small, purple gem found its place in its gold setting – soon joined by the blue Space Stone previously contained within the Tesseract. Now, we have our own suspicions about how Thanos gets the Tesseract as shown in the trailers, and the deafening shot it will fire across the Marvel Universe.
But even before Thanos crushes the Tesseract with his bare hands for the Space Stone contained within, the Marvel Universe has been forever changed. At least, that’s the safe assumption. After all, Thanos has the purple Power Stone before he ever meets the heroes of Infinity War. And thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy, fans know where he got it from.
The Nova Corps & Xandar May Have Been Wiped Out
For those who don’t recall the final act of Guardians of the Galaxy – and since it was almost four years ago now, that could be forgiven – the purple Power Stone came shockingly close to wiping out all life on the planet Xandar, the “Capitol of the Nova Empire.” In a rare moment of true, heroic reasoning, Peter Quill and his Guardians decided to forego the potential payday that a real Infinity Stone would bring. Entrusting the object to the Nova Corps, the Stone was placed in the military’s most secure vault, hand-delivered by Nova Prime (Glenn Close) herself.
For now, we can only assume that her grin was satisfaction that a galactic threat was finally safe. And that the Nova Corps had finally been brought to film (their uniform the basis of the Nova artwork by UncannyKnack visible above).
Audiences may have assumed that the scene put these story lines to rest. There was no place safer, audiences were led to believe, than the Nova vault on Xandar. But again, by the time he meets Thor and Loki… Thanos has the Power Stone already.So how did he get it? As strong as the Nova Corps may seem, Ronan the Accuser succeeded in pounding their aerial forces to near extinction with just one large ship and a fleet of fighters. Thanos can be assumed to command as large an army, if not more (his Chitauri forces wreaked havoc on New York in The Avengers).
To make things worse for the heroes of the MCU, Thanos wouldn’t even need to wipe out the Nova forces, simply fight his way to the Power Stone. Once in his possession,- as was shown in The Collector’s demonstration – he could burn Xandar to a cinder with a single thought. And if he could… why wouldn’t he?
The good news is that the death of the Nova Corps could bring Nova the superhero into Marvel’s movie universe.
The Origin of Nova Needs The Death of The Corps
It might seem like a strange choice to introduce an entire Nova Corps– make that a Nova Empire in one movie just to wipe them out completely in their next film appearance. If Thanos shows up with the Power Stone, then they would be wiped out off-screen, no less. But as hard a sell as that might seem… that’s exactly how they were introduced into the Marvel Universe the first time around. And if we’re being honest, the Nova Corps being almost completely extinguished is kind of their ‘thing.
The story of how a single hero came to be The Man Called Nova is known to Marvel fans, but will also sound familiar to Green Lantern fans of the 1990s, too (similarities between the Nova Corps and DC’s intergalactic, peacekeeping force are taken for granted by now). And even in broad strokes, the origin of Nova in the comics fits the Infinity War setup.
When Xandar, home of the Nova Corps is destroyed by a villain claiming to be a child of Thanos, one Nova soldier escapes to Earth. The soldier is Rhomann Dey (played by John C. Reilly in Guardians), who finds a high school student who will have to suffice as his predecessor. The student is a young man named Richard Rider: the last survivor of the Nova Corps.
It’s an archetypal origin story, reflecting both that of Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner (published before and after Nova). Entrusted with the uniform of a Nova Centurion and access to ‘The Nova Force’ wielded by every Corpsman, Richard presented as Peter Parker blessed with cosmic powers he didn’t understand. Which makes the adaptation of this story simple enough, after Infinity War covers the destruction of Xandar and the Corps.
But the origin isn’t the story that earned Richard Rider his place in the history of Marvel’s Cosmic mythology. That came later – and may actually be the version of the hero Thanos helps to create in Infinity War – and who could debut in Guardians 3.
Nova May Be The Only Corpsman To Survive Thanos
The ‘Nova Force’ mentioned earlier is more pivotal than it may sound to the story of Richard Rider. Put simply, it’s the limitless, cosmic “power” that the early Xandarians were able to harness as the fuel of their Nova Corps. The Nova Force has never been defined more clearly in Marvel canon, but the 2005 Annihilation story used it to make Richard Rider the modern, movie-ready hero many view him as today. And once again, it all started with the destruction of the planet Xandar, and the extinction of the Nova Corps.
The comic event saw Richard answer a distress call to all Nova Corpsmen, ordering them to defend Xandar from an unstoppable cosmic army. This ‘Annihilation Wave’ burned the planet and every Corpsman assembled… all except Richard Rider. As the last surviving member of the Nova Corps, Richard was exposed to the truth of their power: the Nova Force was as mysterious as ever, but the access granted to each Corpsman was closely controlled by a sentient intelligence known as the Xandarian ‘Worldmind.’
By this point, an intelligent planet has already been introduced into the MCU, making the Worldmind less of a stretch. By monitoring the Nova Force and collecting all Xandarian history, knowledge, and culture. the Worldmind effectively was Xandar. And with the planet and its Corps dying, it needed a host to protect it. Richard understood, and accepted the entirety of the Worldmind – and the Nova Force – into his body.
The last survivor of the Nova Corps, the last Nova, and a superhero powerful enough to take on the galaxy’s worst threats was born. With Infinity War possibly taking place after Thanos wiped out Xandar to gain the Power Stone… Marvel’s next movie hero could be floating in the planet’s ashes, preparing to absorb the Nova Force as we speak.
The only question is: should Marvel Studios make it happen?
Source: Screen Rant