Kevin Feige continues to hint at the heroes behind the next phase of the MCU.
We’re just days away from Avengers: Infinity War. The cosmic realm glimpsed at in Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok will come crashing down to Earth with the might of Thanos’s infinity gauntlet, and Marvel Studios will never be the same again. As Tony Stark saw through the wormhole above The Battle of New York, the greatest threats to humanity lie beyond the stars. The Avengers better get their family squabbles squashed before the next armada parks outside our atmosphere.
Kevin Feige has previously said that the next big phase in the franchise will be kicked off in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (release date TBD sometime in 2020). We also know that Captain Marvel will be facing down both the Skrulls and the Kree in her eponymous prequel adventure. Space is not the final frontier but the ultimate battleground for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They’re going to need a little more help than those lovable A-holes with an ear for classic rock.
We now have a better idea at who that cosmic backup might be. Speaking to ComicBook.com at a press event for Infinity War, Feige pretty much announced the arrival of Marvel’s next big hero as being Nova:
“If we have a big board with a bunch of characters that have more immediate potential, Nova is on that board. Because of the connection to the Guardians universe, because there are more than one examples to pull from in the comics that are interesting. And you’re absolutely right, he was in the earliest drafts of the [Guardians of the Galaxy].”
We’ve seen the Nova Corps (Marvel’s answer to the Green Lantern Corps) represented in James Gunn’s original film, and while we had fun with John C. Reilly’s befuddled Corpsman Dey, we did not meet their most recognizable officer. Richard Rider is the top cop of the intergalactic police force. Like Peter Quill, he’s an Earthman ripped from his home planet and charged with its protection. He has carried his own solo books, partnered with the crime fighting teens of The New Warriors, and charged against universal armageddon next to the Guardians of the Galaxy in the “Annihilation” maxi-series.
Nova never reached the popularity of characters like Spider-Man or even Doctor Strange, but before James Gunn revolutionized the characters, Nova was certainly more popular than the Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s a prototypical Marvel hero — cocky, brash, and full of himself. Nova raucously laughed in the face of danger until he encountered a threat impossible to shatter with a mere punch.
In recent years, the comic books banished him to the darkest corners of space. Jesse Alexander took on the role from Rider, and his tween son followed behind him after he was lost in the cosmos. In 2013, shortly after the release of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, Marvel began to flesh out the Chitauri threat. With no Skrulls to supposedly play with (due to liscensing rights with 20th Century Fox), the comic book company needed a new galactic hazard. They took the aliens introduced in Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch’s “The Ultimates” and made them Sam’s public enemy number one.
The new Nova shared his father’s eagerness for heroism, but gave him the added motivational bonus of parental rescue. With papa Nova in the clutches of the Chitauri, Sam partners with Rocket, Groot, and Gamora to set the O.G. hero loose. The most recent series has the joys of early Spider-Man, with a young kid discovering the delights of his powers but still imbued with a sense of purpose.
This concept of galactic galavanting father and son is a relationship we really haven’t explored in the MCU (never mind the tragedy of Peter & Yondu). If Marvel is looking to add more dimension to those stars above our planet, either of the Novas could support that initiative. Like the universe itself, the franchise is ever expanding.