Cassandra Nova: the comic book history of the Deadpool & Wolverine villain

Cassandra Nova in comics
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Deadpool and Wolverine is shaping up to be an X-Men centric fan-fest full of all kinds of new and returning characters from the franchise - including recent confirmation that the film's will feature Cassandra Nova (played by Emma Corrin), an enigmatic mutant whose history with the X-Men is as strange as it gets.

Though Cassandra Nova's exact place in Deadpool 3 hasn't yet been fully detailed, the details of her comic book history are hard facts. And they could have some heavy ramifications for the plot of the film, especially assuming she's the big villain.

Cassandra Nova debuted in 2001's New X-Men #114 by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely - and her introduction and origin came as something of a shock to readers.

There are some big, weird comic book concepts at play in Cassandra's origin, but the TL:DR is that she is Charles Xavier's evil psychic duplicate, known in the Marvel Universe as a 'mummudrai', a term used for certain denizens of the Astral Plane.

Cassandra Nova in comic books

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Essentially, Cassandra Nova was a psychic entity from the Astral Plane who latched onto Charles Xavier in the womb thanks to his already burgeoning psionic abilities. Unlike most mummudrai, Cassandra's connection to Charles Xavier allowed her to leave the Astral Plane and form a physical body. But sensing her presence, Xavier attempted to expel her from the womb

Because of the circumstances of her unlikely 'birth,' which left her helpless and abandoned, Cassandra Nova came to hate Charles Xavier, deciding it would be her life's goal to become strong enough to destroy him - and all other mutants.

Got all that?

After finally forming a body, Cassandra activates a hidden cache of Sentinels which she has discovered, dispatching them to the mutant island nation of Genosha, where they massacre 16 million mutants in a horrific act of genocide. 

Meanwhile, Cassandra herself is captured by the X-Men and taken back to Xavier's School, where she begins using her own considerable psychic abilities to wreak havoc until she was subdued and placed in psionic captivity through the combined mutant abilities of Jean Grey, Emma Frost, and Xavier himself.

Cassandra goes on to escape, clashing with the X-Men several more times until Jean Grey uses her telepathic abilities to show Cassandra the massive weight of the suffering her actions have caused, promising to help her reform.

Cassandra Nova in comic books

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

This leads Cassandra to eventually move to the mutant island of Krakoa, where she joins the Marauders, Krakoa's navy, under the command of Captain Kate Pryde. But Cassandra's true colors shine through once again, and the rest of the Marauders wind up stranding her 2 billion years in the past - and that's the last place she was seen.

It's hard to say how much of that history might come into play in Deadpool & Wolverine, especially the really weird bits. But Cassandra Nova being the film's villain could certainly lend itself to a story in which all of mutantkind is threatened, and their history and place in the multiverse possibly rewritten.

Cassandra Nova makes the list of the best X-Men villains of all time.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)