In considering what it would take to set Marvel Studios Nova film apart from its prior Cosmic offerings and prepare Richard Rider to ascend as the studios greatest Cosmic hero, I’ve found myself challenged over the past several days. The character of Richard Rider isn’t hard to crack, but there’s more to a film than its lead. Instead of trying to write up a script (I’m no script writer), I’m instead going to try to roll out a series of pieces explaining how I would chose to tackle some of these challenges I’ve encountered while imagining the Nova film.
The biggest stumbling block is elevating the Nova Corps from James Gunn’s mall cops to the high powered, intergalactic police force fans know and love. The answer lies (as I’m sure so many of you have considered as well) in the Power Stone. The conclusion of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy saw the Nova Corps entrusted with the purple stone following Ronan’s defeat on Xandar. As far as we know, the Nova Corps had no powers and the Worldmind didn’t exist. For those of you you unfamiliar with the Worldmind, it is a sentient supercomputer that holds the entirety of Xandar’s history inside itself and provides the Nova Corps with a connection to the Nova Force. With no Worldmind and no Nova Force, there’s also no reason to make a Nova film, so how can we get there?
The answer, an answer that ironically enough will also provide a window to introduce Richard’s younger brother Robbie to the MCU, lies in quantum computing (do you guys put the word quantum in front of everything?). I’ll leave the fine details to the experts, but as it stands now, we Earthers are still in the early days of using quantum technology and while some don’t believe efficient quantum computers can ever be built, it hasn’t stopped people from trying. One of the biggest challenges facing those chasing the prize is the amount of energy used in the process. It’s not that the actual process takes more energy than traditional computers, it’s that it takes an incredible amount of power to cool the device. If you’re talking about building something on the scale of the Xandarian Worldmind, you’d need an almost endless amount of power, the kind that might come from the purple Power Stone.
The Xandarians are already an advanced culture, so finding a way to transfer and store energy from the Power Stone would be a relatively simple task for them; therefore, in time between the end of Guardians of the Galaxy and the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War when Thanos takes the stone from them, we’ll understand that they have found a way to transfer and store the energy, engineer the Worldmind and, given its advanced AI and the fact that it’s a collective of all the greatest minds (we’ll say that the Xandarians were forward thinking and had already thought to store the consciousnesses of their brightest and best as they attempted to find a way to build something along the lines of the Supreme Intelligence used by their enemy, the Kree) it has also found a way to become self-sustaining meaning (stupid plot hole fix) it doesn’t need the Power Stone to fuel is anymore. The Worldmind is a massive undertaking and it has advanced the civilization (maybe it would be akin to a Type II on the Kardashev Scale). Now that it has an essentially unlimited amount of energy, the Worldmind makes the move to militarize the Nova Corps.
In this scenario, as in the comics, the helmets of the Nova Corps the key. In the MCU, the helmets work as a conduit by actually interfacing with the Corpsmens’ nervous system. We’ve heard about Elon Musk wanting to put chips in humans’ heads to speed up the process of accessing the internet; this is more like putting your head into a chip. The interface would allow each Corpsman to have immediate access to knowledge that the Worldmind has, appropriate to their own station, and also serve as their connection to the Nova Force (which will obviously be purple now). The key to this is is transmission via quantum entanglement meaning the entirety of the Nova Corps, while wearing their helmets, become a quantum system. This is heavy science and, since it’s not yet been mastered on Earth, I suppose it’s science fiction. It’s complicated but it’s key to the audiences understanding of how Rider can do what he does and the connectivity of one Corpsmen to another will factor into things down the line, so the audience needs to understand it. Enter Robbie Rider.
Robbie Rider is the younger brother of Richard and, you guessed it, a genius. In the comics, Robbie was developing software and making money on it at a young age, so it’s no (quantum) leap here to have him on the leading edge of quantum computing on Earth in the MCU. The details of this will come in a future piece, but here is what you need to know about Richard and Robbie. Richard struggles with school and while threatened by his intelligence, he loves him fiercely and has defended him from school bullies all his life. My idea for this film will see a pretty major paradigm shift for Richard. He will become Nova just moments before the snap meaning we’ll see him in the helmet just long enough for him to make a connection to the Worldmind before turning to dust. During the 5 years he’s gone, Robbie continues on in school and becomes one of MIT’s youngest and brightest students thanks to his work in the field of quantum computing. When Richard comes back, it will be Robbie that helps him crack the mystery of his helmet and surmises that somewhere there must be a massive quantum processor on the other end, sending Richard into space and setting up Robbie for some adventures of his own down the road (who knows, maybe he’ll intercept the Datasong or something).
Three problems up, three problems down. Of course solving those problems leads to further complications, questions and confusions and you still don’t know how the movie starts, but for now we’ve retconned James Gunn’s mall cops, created the Worldmind, explained the origins of the Nova Force and given the audience the expository device it needs!