‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Spinoff Survives Bob Iger MCU Cancellation

in Marvel

A man with light brown hair and a beard, wearing a light blue long-sleeved shirt, stands in a blue-lit room. He is smiling and leaning against a wall, facing another person whose face is mostly out of frame. Wires can be seen in the background.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Despite fears that Disney CEO Bob Iger is canceling nearly every upcoming Marvel Studios project, a spinoff of the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is still in development to become a new Disney+ MCU series.

Guardians of the Galaxy cast
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is still the world’s most dominant film franchise, with multiple feature films crossing the billion-dollar mark that executives so desperately crave and consumer recognition at an all-time high.

At the same time, it is indisputable that the MCU has stumbled in recent years, with Disney+ series like Secret Invasion and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law facing audience fatigue and movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) and The Marvels (2023) turning in some of the series’ worst box office performances.

This is bad news for The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios’ parent corporation. It also doesn’t help that Disney’s animation films regularly bomb in theaters, and Lucasfilm’s sole feature film since 2019, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023), lost over $200 million.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Disney+ Gives up on Struggling MCU, Revives Abandoned Marvel Canon

In response, Disney CEO Bob Iger has started canceling projects left and right, including numerous MCU projects. Most notably, he and Kevin Feige reduced the Marvel 2024 feature film release schedule to a single movie, Deadpool and Wolverine. Similarly, 2025 will see only two, The Fantastic Four and Captain America: Brave New World.

Even more dramatically, a number of films and Disney+ series have apparently been quietly shut down entirely. Marvel Studios has not released an official list of canceled projects, but everything from Captain Marvel 3 and Ant-Man 4 to Vision Quest, Wonder Man, and Moon Knight season 2 have been rumored to have been shut down.

MCU characters with the Disney+ logo
Credit: Disney+

Happily, it appears that one highly anticipated project is still in the running: an adaption of the Marvel Comics cosmic character Nova.

According to Marvel Studios Head of TV, Streaming, and Animation, Brad Winderbaum (via ScreenRant), Nova is still in development and appears to have survived the Bob Iger culling. Winderbaum said of Nova:

“It’s new territory for us, developing more shows than we produce. Nova certainly is exciting to us, we’ve got some great ideas simmering. I think there’s a lot of potential there. I love Nova, also, from the comics, especially the Richard Rider era… we’ll see what happens. Like you said, there’s only so many release slots in the schedule, but we want to make sure everything we make is as good as it could possibly be. But I will say that is a particular project we are excited about and excited about developing.”

Nova using his powers
Credit: Marvel Comics

The most popular version of Nova in Marvel Comics is a normal human man named Richard Rider, who is given superhuman abilities by a dying member of the Nova Corps, an intergalactic organization of space police that does not resemble the Green Lantern Corps in any particular way.

As part of the Nova Corps, Richard Rider (and later, another Earth human named Sam Alexander) is given a connection to the “Nova Force” for immense powers and answers to Nova Prime, the head of the organization. Over the decades, the character has become a popular cosmic and/or space-based hero in Marvel Comics and has been heavily involved in massive crossover events like Annihilation and Secret Invasion.

Related: Major Marvel Star Prepares to Defect to James Gunn DCU, Admits to New Role

Members of the Nova Corps in the MCU
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Nova Corps debuted in the MCU in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), with Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, and Peter Serafinowicz all playing members of the organization.

It was further referenced and implied to have been destroyed by Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), while director James Gunn has alluded to the possibility of a Nova film to spinoff from his Guardians series. Could a Nova project involve the reconstruction of the Corps with a Hollywood A-lister? Apparently, Bob Iger is leaving the door open for it.

Ryan Gosling has long been rumored to play Richard Rider in a Nova project, which has been speculated to be a feature film, a Disney+ series, or even a streaming one-off like Werewolf by Night. It seems that Gosling is far more interested in playing a more terrifying antihero than a space cop, but he could still have a chance to do either one—at least if Bob Iger slows down on the cancelations a little.

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