“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” could point toward a next team of heroes. (Disney/Marvel Studios)

Caveat: Spoilers ahead.

Adam Warlock is set up to be the next foe heading into the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie, after he was name-dropped in a post-credit scene in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

But if intergalactic cards are played right, it could be another classic Marvel Comics character that could lead Marvel Studios to their next deep space franchise.

It’s time to start thinking about Marvel space adventures without the Guardians of the Galaxy — and Nova could be the perfect character to keep the space jams ongoing.

The magic number is typically three when it comes to Marvel Studios movie franchises. Not that those franchises don’t have the popularity to merit a fourth film, but usually at that point, Marvel Studios is on to their next “phase” and introducing new characters.

The Nova Corp., made up of Marvel’s outer-space cops, already played a major role in the first “Guardians” movie. After being briefly mentioned in “Vol. 2,” a third “Guardians” movie with the team up against Adam Warlock could give the Guardians a reason to once again reach out to the Nova Corp — including the Nova, who could assist the Guardians against a foe that will be much more powerful than their team.


Nova (Marvel Entertainment)

The box-office rewards of the 2014 and 2017 “Guardians” films proves that Marvel’s deep space is popular. Now, Nova could be the X-factor in “Guardians Vol. 3″ while also being a cool-enough character to possibly merit his own movie franchise. He could also be a potential new Avenger on a roster that will no doubt be going through some changes after “Infinity War,” debuting in 2018.

The only issue would be which Nova to introduce: the classic Richard Rider who fought alongside the New Warriors in their ’90s Marvel comic, or Sam Alexander, the currently teenage Nova who stars in his own series, as well as in Marvel’s “Champions” series featuring other teen heroes.

Or both Novas could be in play.

Nova probably didn’t appear in “Guardians Vol. 2″ for the same reason that Adam Warlock didn’t: There were already too many new characters, including Mantis, Ego and more Ravagers.

If a Nova movie is hard to imagine, just remember: Marvel Studios has made not one but two movies starring a tree and a raccoon. At this point, any of their characters could get the movie treatment. Nova, with his high-tech alien technology helmet and ability to fly through the universe at blazing speeds, should be at the top of that potential list.

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