Who Is Nova? A Quick Guide To The MCU’s Newest Hero

Another major character from the world of comics is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

A project centred on Richard Rider, a.k.a. Nova, is currently in the works from Moon Knight writer Sabir Pirzada. It’s not yet known whether this will be a series or a film – but either way, anticipation is high.

Debuting in the late seventies, Nova has long been a fan favourite and his transition to the MCU is a big deal indeed. Here’s everything you need to know about the character before you see him on-screen.

Origin Story

Marvel Comics

Although created in the sixties, Nova didn’t debut in the Marvel universe until 1976, when the comic The Man Called Nova was released. In this original series, Rider is a New York high school student, unexpectedly drafted to join the Nova Corps of the planet Xandar, who only had one surviving member left.

He’s given the uniform and powers of a Nova Centurion by Rhomann Dey, the dying final member of the Corps, and soon finds himself battling supervillains, also teaming up with heroes including Spider-Man and Thor.

Marvel fans will have already seen the Nova Corps on-screen in the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies, where the intergalactic peace keeping mission has played an important narrative role. Out of the pre-established MCU characters, it is the Guardians to whom Nova has the most ties (he even has a romance with Gamora at one point), so maybe their upcoming Holiday Special will be a grand introduction?


Marvel Comics

Nova’s powers come from an energy source called the Nova Force, which was initially transferred to him via Rhomann Dey. This gives him the standard superhero powers of speed, flight, and strength, as well as the ability to absorb energy aimed at him also able to wield that as a weapon.

And on top of this, he’s not too shabby in the fighting department either, known as an expert in hand-to-hand combat.

Additional powers come via the StarCorps uniform, which ensures he can survive even in the outer reaches of space, with an additional internal life support function.

Marvel Comics

In his current comics iteration, Nova has some extra powers too. He’s in possession of the Xandarian Worldmind, which gives him almost complete control of the Nova Force, also now able to open wormholes and exert influences over gravitational forces.

Put simply, he’s in his element when controlling the elements.

Secret Invasion

Marvel Studios

It remains to be seen how Nova will make his grand entrance into the MCU, but there is one key upcoming screen storyline he’s heavily involved with on the page: Secret Invasion.

The upcoming Disney+ series sees Nick Fury returning to an Earth that has been secretly overrun by the Skrulls. Something similar happened to Rider in the comics: he learned about the invasion after being ambushed by Skrulls in space, and headed back to Earth where he found that Project Pegasus, the base where his brother worked, was under Skrull attack.

Although it was only an eight issue limited series in the comics, the Secret Invasion run had serious ramifications across the Marvel universe on the page.

Marvel Studios

It may be too early for Nova to make his debut to coincide with this series, but its ramifications are likely to be felt within his origin story.

In other words, one of Marvel’s most iconic characters is set to make a major impression no matter when he makes his entrance.

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Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.