"Nova... the guy who put the "War" in New Warriors."
—Nova's prematch quote
Nova is a hero from Marvel comics who has been a member the New Warriors, United Front, Nova Corps and Secret Avengers. He is introduced to the series in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Richard Rider was born in Hempstead, New York. As a teenager, he was chosen at random by the alien Rhomann Dey, last surviving Centurion of the planet Xandar's elite Nova Corps, to inherit his power and succeed him in the rank of Nova Prime following the destruction of his world by the intergalactic pirate, Zorr.
Having been mortally wounded in the battle that tore Xandar apart, Dey succeeded in tracking Zorr to Earth but was unable to exact vengeance due to the extent of his injuries. At death's door, Dey had little choice but to transfer his power to an unsuspecting human on the planet below, praying whoever he found will take up his cause and prove worthy of the powers he had given.
Rider gained great strength, invulnerability, the power to fly, and a uniform with a sealed life support system, but little instruction on how to use these new powers. Still, he took up the life of a superhero, fighting costumed supervillains in New York and gradually learning how to use his new powers.
Richard's personality in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a combination of his brash, and cocky personality from his early appearances and his serious, determined attitude from post-Annihilation. Cocky, wisecracking, and self-absorbed, Rider is not unlike Hawkeye in terms of personality. He is also very lively and is a very competent fighter. Also like Hawkeye, he is serious mainly only when really needed, but at heart, he is a good person and a true hero who yearns to help the entire galaxy to the best of his power, and even beyond. He enjoys joking around with friends and potential enemies, one example being that his pre-match quote against Rocket Raccoon has him calling him a reject from Bambi.
- Nova's alternate colors are based on two of his '90s New Warriors looks, one based on his look from Millennial Visions: Marvel Knights, Quasar, and Nova 00. Nova's DLC costume is directly based on Sam Alexander's Nova costume from the Ultimate Spider-Man (As opposed to Sam's costume in the comics which sports a black helmet).
- Nova's victory quote, "That was for Nova Corps." is what Nova said to Annihilus as he killed him at the end of the Annihilation event (only edited to reflect the past tense rather than the present).
- Nova has a cameo appearance in Marvel Super Heroes, in Thanos' stage, as one of the heroes turned to stone.
- Nova is the only Marvel newcomer without a Level 3. Frank is the only Capcom newcomer without a Level 3 in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- Nova's appearance indicates he is a Nova Prime and would need the world-mind computer to help him control the power of the nova force, but it is unknown if world-mind is in the game as the only mention of it comes from M.O.D.O.K.'s pre-battle quote against Nova .
- Nova is the only character whom Frank West has a special conversation for that doesn't use his camera introduction.
- Nova's ending featuring Mega Man may be a reference to one of his enemies from his early comics also named Megaman.
- Nova and Phoenix were the only Marvel characters in the game who was presumed dead in the comics when the game came out. Until Richard Rider is confirmed to be alive well, and the Worldmind inside his helmet was the one got infected with a Cancerverse virus for temporary until his Nova protégée Sam Alexander freed Richard and the Worldmind from the Cancerverse's corruption.
- Nova is the only Marvel hero whom Viewtiful Joe has a specific intro and victory quote for. The dialogue itself implies that Nova is one of Joe's favorite superheroes from Marvel.