No. No, they did not. It turns out, directors Joe and Anthony Russo's previous tease that a member of the Nova Corps appeared in the final battle of Avengers: Endgame wasn't serious.
After causing quite the internet stir today, the Russos clarified their Nova tease to Comic Book via email later this afternoon, writing, "That was actually a joke on our part." Granted, that didn't stop fans everywhere from poring over every frame of that epic final battle. Heck, this revelation might not stop it, either. After all, Avengers: Endgame is a massive movie packed with central characters and even more packed with details hidden in its many epic sequences.
The whole thing started in a new video from Wired, released earlier today, in which the Russo Brothers take on some "Avengers Support," answering questions about Endgame posed by fans via Twitter in an effort to clear up any lingering mysteries or perceived inconsistencies in the film. Many of the questions they get in the course of the video have become standard issues ever since Endgame was released back in April — from why Peter Parker's friends didn't age (they were snapped along with him) to why Smart Hulk decided to merge Hulk and Banner into one body, to why Steve Rogers chose Sam Wilson and not Bucky Barnes to be the next Captain America after him. It's all just a bit of a fun, and the Russos — who lead off the video by joking that they're "still talking about" Endgame months after the fact — certainly treat it as such, going so far as to simply answer "pass" when one fan asks why they chose to kill Tony Stark.
At the end of the video, the brothers revealed the alleged Nova Easter egg lurking in the massive final battle between the Avengers and the forces of Thanos. When one fan asks why the film didn't make any room for members of the Nova Corps to appear in that massive clash, the Russos point out that at least one Nova Corps member is in the movie.
"Look closely at that scene again, and you will see," Joe Russo began.
"There are thousands of people," Anthony Russo added.
"You will see Richard Rider in the background of a shot. Easter egg," Joe Russo concluded.
Richard Rider is the most famous Marvel Comics superhero to bear the name Nova, first appearing in The Man Called Nova #1 back in 1976, and he has yet to appear in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. The Nova Corps, the cosmic police force of which Rider is a member, first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, where their numbers were significantly weakened by Ronan the Accuser's attack on Xandar. Thanos' subsequent, off-screen attack on Xandar before the events of Avengers: Infinity War would have dealt the Corps further damage, but that doesn't mean certain surviving members could not have returned to battle Thanos alongside the Avengers in Endgame. Remember, those establishing shots show us everyone from Asgardian soldiers to Wakandan warriors to a few cosmic characters slipping in here and there, and there are certainly plenty of flying craft overhead as the charge begins. Basically, there is a lot going on here, so when the directors casually mention a cosmic hero that they had planned to introduce in this very film at one point, why would anyone dispute it?
Anyway, feel free to put Endgame on the TV (again) and freeze every frame of that action sequence just to make sure Richard Rider isn't there. Even if it's a joke. Especially if it's a joke. We need to be sure, people.