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Rumor Report: Is This Who Marvel Wants To Play Nova?

The Marvel rumor mill never sleeps.

Anonymous sources are reporting that Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige is in talks with a young actor who has appeared in a Christopher Nolan film for the lead role in a Nova feature — and some observers have a few ideas as to who that might be. 

The rumor was reported by YouTuber TVO during a recent episode of his video series, Lords of the Long Box. While he didn't offer any suggestions about the possible identity of the actor who is supposedly up for the plum role, our friends at Cosmic Book News took the rumor and ran with it, identifying a few stars who have worked with Nolan, and who physically fit the bill for the part of Nova. Among them: 25-year old Harry Styles, 22-year old Fionn Whitehead, and 26-year old Barry Keoghan, all of whom appeared in Nolan's 2017 flick Dunkirk. Also singled out as a possibility: 23-year old Timothée Chalamet, who popped up in 2014's Interstellar.

Now, this would be exciting news if it turns out to be accurate — but frankly, we have our doubts. It must be pointed out that no Nova feature has even been confirmed at this time, although there are a couple of strong indications that the character being prepped for entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In case you're not familiar, Nova is the heroic identity of Richard Rider, an earthling who was imbued with the power and knowledge of the entire Nova Corps — the armed forces of the planet Xandar, featured in Guardians of the Galaxy — when their home planet is destroyed. As Nova, Rider is immensely powerful; his level of strength is off the charts, he can fly faster than the speed of light, he generates devastating blasts of cosmic energy, and he's possessed of the "Xandarian worldmind," which essentially makes him one of the most complete repositories of knowledge in the universe.

Our first clue regarding the character's impending arrival in the MCU came during Avengers: Endgame, when it was revealed that Xandar — which the Guardians had managed to save from destruction at the hands of Ronan the Accuser — had indeed been obliterated, offscreen, by Thanos. (Sorry, Guardians; it was a valiant effort, but that poor planet was always doomed.)

In the comics, Rider was gifted with the collective power of the Nova Corps by Rhomann Dey, who was portrayed in the Guardians films by John C. Reilly. That is to say, all of the ingredients for the creation of Nova are already present in the MCU which would make his introduction a piece of cake, narratively speaking.

Our second hint comes from none other than Feige himself, who has teased his interest in Nova on multiple occasions. As far back as April 2018, the King Geek told ComicBook.com, "If we have a big board with a bunch of characters that have more immediate potential, Nova is on that board. Because of the connection to the Guardians universe, because there are more than one examples to pull from in the comics that are interesting." Feige also noted that the character was present in the earliest drafts of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Asked about his remarks by the same site over a year later, Feige confirmed that nothing had changed. "We love Nova," he said. "It would be cool." Asked if he still felt that the character had "immediate potential" for inclusion in the MCU, Feige said, "Yes, still true. That's still true."

All of these things considered, it sure seems like Nova's entry into the MCU is inevitable. However, there's ample reason to view this rumor with a healthy amount of skepticism.

Chief among these: we already know every film and TV series Marvel will be producing through 2021, and Nova is not among them. For that matter, neither is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is thought to be on tap for Phase 5 and which should drop sometime in 2022 or 2023. If Nova doesn't get his own solo feature right off the bat, it's reasonable to think that he may pop up in that film.

Phase 5, however, is still pretty far down the road — and it's not likely that Feige and Marvel would be seeking to cast the part of Nova at this early date. A potential Nova solo film would probably not begin production for at least a couple years, and Guardians 3 writer/director James Gunn will be finishing up his work on Warner Brothers and DC's The Suicide Squad before tackling the three-quel.

While we're indulging the rumor mill, though, we may as well go ahead and state our preference. We're going to go ahead and root for Chalamet, who has the absolute right look for the role, and who has proven to have some serious acting chops with his role in the acclaimed 2017 romantic drama Call Me By Your Name (which scored him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor) and the 2018 biopic Beautiful Boy.

With any good fortune, we'll get some hard news regarding Nova's future involvement in the MCU sooner rather than later. We'll keep our eye out for any developments, and keep you informed.