Who is Cassandra Nova? Deadpool 3 villain explained

Christopher Baggett
Cassandra Nova in Marvel Comics & the MCUMarvel Studios | Marvel Comics

The first trailer for Deadpool & Wolverine may confirm the debut of one of the X-Men’s deadliest and weirdest enemies, Cassandra Nova. 

One of the biggest surprises to come out of the first Deadpool & Wolverine trailer would be the first look at the film’s big bad, Cassandra Nova.

While Nova has not been officially confirmed by Marvel Studios, she was confirmed as being played by The Crown actor Emma Corrin thanks to, of all things, a US Copyright Office filing.

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Cassandra Nova is a product of one of the X-Men’s most popular and most bizarre eras. What’s more, her jump to film would mark the first time some of the weirder, more modern X-Men ideas have made the leap to the big screen. 

Cassandra Nova is a dark reflection of Charles Xavier

Debuting in the pages of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s critically acclaimed New X-Men, Cassandra Nova is not a mutant but rather a Mummudrai, a being from the Astral Plane who presents itself as the antithesis of a host.

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She manifested inside the womb alongside Charles Xavier, intending to possess his body; however, after taking on his powers, she was able to mimic his human form and use his body as a template to form her own. 

Once she developed, Cassandra attempted to strangle Charles in the womb, but he lashed back with a psychic blast and killed her physical form. However, enough of the stillborn body’s cells survived that she was able to regrow her body. Convinced that she and Charles are the only real things in the universe, she sets about destroying everything Xavier loves. 

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Cassandra Nova kills XavierMarvel Comics
Using Cerebra to swap their minds, Cassandra Nova attempts to kill Xavier and discredit the X-Men.

Plotting her revenge, an adult Cassandra Nova uses Sentinels to destroy the mutant island of Genosha, massacring half of Earth’s mutants. She then attacks the X-Men and uses Cerebra to swap bodies with Xavier. Before Xavier can reveal he is trapped in Nova’s body, his neck is broken by Emma Frost in retaliation for the Genoshia attack. He’s then shot by the Nova, who is now in control of his body. 

As Xavier, Nova outs the longtime mutant activist as a mutant and reveals the X-Men to sow distrust among Earth, then takes to space with the Shi’ar empire. Nova breaks the mind of Xavier’s longtime lover, the Shi’ar Majestrix Lilandra, and returns to Earth with the Shi’ar army, intent on taking back her original form. 

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Cassandra Nova trapped in an empty mindMarvel Comics
Cassandra Nova was defeated when she was trapped in an erased mind, doomed to perpetually forget everything.

Eventually, Cassandra Nova is foiled when she attempts to use Cerebra again, this time to access the mind of the Earth’s mutants. However, Jean Grey was able to save the memories of Xavier with her own telepathic powers, splitting them up and storing them in the minds of other mutants. Once Nova’s memories make contact with Xavier, he reasserts control of his body. 

Trapped without a form, Nova is tricked by Emma into possessing the body of a shapeshifting Shi’ar warrior, her mind erased and the body stored in a box.

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Nova would reappear over the years, notably as a trauma manifestation of Emma Frost’s during Astonishing X-Men, and for real when Jean Grey was resurrected in X-Men Red. She was last seen in the pages of Marauders, where Emma and Kate Pryde trapped Cassandra millions of years in the past.

How will Cassandra Nova factor into Deadpool & Wolverine?

It has not been confirmed yet that the mysterious figure we see in the Deadpool 3 trailer is Cassandra Nova, though all signs point to it. 

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Early scoops for Deadpool & Wolverine have pointed to Nova, portrayed by English actor Emma Corrin, as the film’s primary antagonist. However, it’s unclear if this will be the mythological Shi’ar being of the comics or if the film will take a more streamlined approach to the character, such as making her a variant of Xavier (Patrick Stewart is also heavily rumored to be making some kind of appearance, though this is not yet confirmed). 

Negasonic Teenage Warhead is killed on GenoshaMarvel Comics
One of Cassandra Nova’s most notable victims is Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

While there’s no clear indicator how, exactly, Cassandra Nova could factor into the film’s plot, it is worth noting it could have dire consequences for one supporting character: Deadpool fan-favorite Negasonic Teenage Warhead

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Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s few comic appearances are in the earliest Cassandra Nova stories, debuting as an X-Men student with the ability to see the future. She’s on Genosha under Emma Frost’s tutelage but is explicitly killed in Cassandra Nova’s massacre.

Though she later reappeared as a hallucination of the traumatized Emma, the character would be resurrected during the Necrosha event, eventually changing her appearance to more closely resemble her film counterpart. 

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About The Author

Christopher Baggett started writing about comics on the Internet when he was 14 years old. Since then, he's written professionally for a host of sites, including ComicsBeat, Comic Book Resources, and The HomeWorld. He's most knowledgable about the legacy heroes of the '80s and '90s that he grew up with and believes Wally West is the best Flash - and he'll fight anyone over it. For tips, news, press and more, contact Christopher at christopher.baggett@dexerto.com