Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were two movies burdened with featuring an onslaught of Marvel characters. Before appearing in the films, the many heroes had all debuted in their own respective films -- including Black Panther and Captain Marvel who managed to squeeze in their own titles at the last minute. While there are already a slew of heroes for writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely to balance, they almost had one more fan-favorite character from Marvel Comics on their hands in the form of Nova. As the story goes, Nova's origin story was put into place when Thanos destroyed Xandar off-screen, and he almost became a major player in the feud against the Mad Titan with Glenn Close returning to the MCU for the first time since Guardians of the Galaxy.
"We actually had, I remember in the big manifesto thing that we did, where the first work we did on these movies where we just... every possible storyline that you could take from what's around, that Nova has the Xandarian Worldmind," Markus told ComicBook.com on Thursday. "Yeah, the Xandarian Worldmind, was that after... it was almost going... In this conception, he would be the herald, not unlike the Hulk, who was actually standing in for the Silver Surfer, but that one member of the Nova Corps survived Thanos' attack. The Xandarian Worldmind would be the voice of Glenn Close, because you had her and why not? And that he would be Richard Rider and he would come to earth."
In the comics, Rider is the sole survivor of Xandar's destruction and inherits the Xandarian Worldmind along with the full power of the Nova Corps as a means to preserve their legacy. With the Nova Corps first appearance in movies, Close made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Nova Prime in Guardians of the Galaxy from 2014. She has not been seen in a Marvel Studios film since.
The entrance for Nova on Earth with a warning of a cosmic threat would not have been unlike the role Sam Alexander's Nova played in 2012's Avengers vs. X-Men comic series. "It would've been amazing," Markus admits.
"But you're introducing a whole new character when we're trying to say goodbye to all the ones that you know," McFeely points out.
This is not the first time Nova has almost made the cut for a hit film. The Richard Rider character was originally slated to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy but was ultimately cut from the script before the film went into production. "Nova is… if we have a big board with a bunch of characters that have more immediate potential, Nova is on that board," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told ComicBook.com in 2018. "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]."