Fans of the original Guardians of the Galaxy are sure to be familiar with the Nova Corps. The protectors of the planet Xandar played a major role in the film, not only imprisoning Star-Lord with his future co-Guardians but helping to defeat Ronan in the film’s final battle. So why didn’t the most famous Nova Corps member ever, Richard Rider aka Nova, make his debut in the franchise?
GOTG director and newly crowned head of DC studios, James Gunn has some answers. And it isn’t because he didn’t like the character. Apparently, Gunn felt that having one displaced Earthling, his protagonist Peter Quill, was perfect but that another would have diminished his vision for Quill’s journey.
Like Peter Quill, Rider was born on Earth but is given the superpowers of a Nova Corps Centurion by a dying corpsman, Rhomann Dey (played in GOTG by John C. Reilly). In the comics, Rider became a superhero on Earth and then traveled to Xandar where he helped the inhabitants fight a war against the Skrull Empire. But Gunn didn’t want to have two fish-out-of-water stories to tell. In an interview with the Youtube channel Phase Zero Gunn stated:
“Yeah, I never had Richard Rider in anything. He’s just too big of a character and he seemed too… I didn’t want to… From the beginning, when I came on board Guardians, I didn’t want to have two human beings. I wanted to have one human being so that he could be surrounded in this world of aliens. And then we realized little by little, that all of these characters are the only of their kind, they’re the only human being to them, you know?”– James Gunn
Nova fans may not have to wait long before seeing him join the MCU. The character has been rumored to be in development for some time and is even believed to be the subject of Marvel’s next “Special Presentation” following on the heels of Werewolf by Night.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is scheduled to be released on Disney Plus on November 25.