James Gunn, the director of the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies, reveals the reason comic book character Nova was left out of the movies.
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn reveals why Nova wasn’t in the movie. Led by a strong ensemble cast that includes Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star Lord, Zoe Saldaña as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, and Vin Diesel as Groot, the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has debuted in 2014. At the time, its tone, many new characters, and celestial setting offered a departure from most typical Marvel Cinematic Universe fare. With a sequel under their belt, appearances in a few other MCU movies, and an upcoming holiday special and third installment, the Guardians of the Galaxy have become one of the most beloved superhero groups in the MCU due to their family ties and their witty humour.
In the MCU, the core members of Guardians have remained the same, though the group has added Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) while featuring frequent appearances from Yondu (Michael Rooker). However, several of the comic book characters associated with the team have yet to make their way to the screen, including Nova Corps member Richard Rider, known as Nova. During an appearance on the Phase Zero podcast, Gunn explains why Nova wasn’t part of the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy. See what the director had to say below:
“I never had Richard Rider in anything. He’s just too big of a character and he seemed too… I didn’t want to… Right from the start, when I came on board the Guardians, I didn’t want to have two human beings. I wanted to have a human being so that he could be surrounded in this alien world. And then we realized little by little, that all these characters are unique, it’s the only human being for them, you know? »
Why The Guardians Ensemble Works
Originally a high school student from New York City, Rider was named to replace Rhomann Dey, the last surviving member of Xandar’s Nova Corps, when Dey died in the comics. The teenager was given the powers of a Nova Centurion, which include flight, superhuman strength, and increased resistance to injury. Although the Guardians team interacts with Xandar and the Nova Corps in the films, Nova is nowhere to be found. Although Nova is a fan-favorite character in the comics, his youth and other factors would have potentially added too many elements for the Guardians of the Galaxy films to juggle since he already deals with a large cast of together, hence Gunn’s mention of Rider being “too big of a character.” »
While Nova teamed up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to battle Thanos in the comics, Nova was absent from the MCU’s battle against the villain, likely for the reasons Gunn outlined above. Gunn’s strategy of having a member of each species on the team was crucial to the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. The multiple culture clashes provide plenty of opportunities for humor and introduce audiences to parts of the MCU that may be new to them, but the choice also speaks to the franchise’s overall theme of found family.
Each member of the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy team has a story – often a tragic one – that has led to their current loneliness and difficulty trusting others. Since each character is the only one of their kind on the team and seemingly unlikely to fit in well with the other “alien” species around them, the result of the eventual deep bond and camaraderie of the team is extremely satisfying and comforting. Additionally, the fact that each member represents a different species, planet, history, and culture has brought balance to the team since each member has always been a bit of an outsider. Therefore, they connected with the others, which could not have been achieved if the Guardians of the Galaxy team contained two humans.
Key Release Dates