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Why The Cast Of Alien: Romulus Looks So Familiar

The "Alien" movie saga is expanding yet again with "Alien: Romulus," which is scheduled for release on August 16, 2024. If the trailer and director Fede Álvarez's previous horror outings are anything to go by, the latest installment will follow the blueprint of Ridley Scott's original film in many ways, from the industrial aesthetic and slow-burn corridor crawls to the small cast — as of this writing, only six actors have been confirmed as appearing in the film.

That number is in keeping with 1979's "Alien," which follows a single ship's crew of seven as they accidentally bring a deadly monster aboard and fight to defeat it. That creature, the xenomorph, is now an immortal piece of the cinematic canon, and it's coming for blood once again in "Alien: Romulus." The highly anticipated picture will be the feature film debut of one of its young stars, Aileen Wu.

While Wu has previously appeared in a number of short films and live theatrical performances in New York City, the vast majority of people won't have seen her in action before. However, the same cannot be said for her co-stars. The film's cast may be small, but it includes a number of notable actors, including a couple of rising young stars who have recently made names for themselves in other projects. Here's why the cast of "Alien: Romulus" looks so familiar.

Cailee Spaeny

The main protagonist of "Alien: Romulus" is Rain Carradine, played by rising star Cailee Spaeny. You may recognize her from a number of different movies and TV shows from the last several years. Spaeny's career got a jump-start in 2018 when she appeared in four major movies: "Pacific Rim: Uprising" (as Amara Namani), "Bad Times at the El Royale" (as Rose Summerspring), "On the Basis of Sex" (as Jane Ginsburg), and "Vice" (as a young Lynne Cheney).

Since that breakout year, she's added a number of other prominent credits, including Lily in 2020's "The Craft: Legacy," Priscilla Presley in the 2023 biopic "Priscilla," and, most recently, young photojournalist Jessie in the Alex Garland dystopian drama "Civil War." That last film was Spaeny's second time working with Garland, as she'd previously played the character Lyndon in the writer-director's 2020 sci-fi miniseries "Devs." This was the show that kicked off Spaeny's TV career. Since then, she's played the tragic character Erin McMenamin in the HBO crime drama "Mare of Easttown" and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt in the 2022 Showtime anthology series "The First Lady."

Few details about the "Alien: Romulus" story are available at this time, but we do know a little bit about Spaeny's Rain character. Along with the rest of the core cast, she grew up as part of a burgeoning interstellar human colony and has a sibling-like relationship with her childhood friends. "All their parents probably worked on the same ship when they were kids, and that's how they got to know each other," Álvarez revealed to Entertainment Weekly. The director previously told the same outlet that he had Spaeny in mind from the very beginning, saying, "I almost wrote the movie for her."

David Jonsson

David Jonsson plays Andy in "Alien: Romulus," a member of the young crew who stands apart from the others for a particular reason: He's a "synthetic" android, not a human. Despite this, he has been described in pre-release materials as Rain's "brother." Synthetics have been part of the "Alien" movies since the very first one in 1979, but they often have a sinister side to them, which was something that director Fede Álvarez apparently wanted to challenge this time around.

"She loves him like her brother, but there are difficulties growing up with a synthetic, and some of the challenges that she faces during the film are related," Cailee Spaeny told Entertainment Weekly when asked about the relationship between Rain and Andy. "That relationship dynamic is really interesting to flip on its head; it was really fun to explore having a synthetic as a family member and the questions it poses. David Jonsson, who plays that character, was so brilliant and really nailed that performance."

Jonsson made a name for himself as a live theater actor on London's West End. That translated into a career on television, with a Season 2 role on the British thriller series "Deep State" in 2019 eventually leading to Jonsson co-starring as Gus Sackey in the HBO and BBC drama show "Industry." Since then, Jonsson has starred in the BBC's Agatha Christie adaptation "Murder is Easy" and the critically acclaimed British rom-com "Rye Lane," which has a near-perfect score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Archie Renaux

American audiences will probably know Archie Renaux best for his role as Malyen Oretsev on Netflix's "Shadow and Bone," the acclaimed adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's bestselling Grishaverse fantasy novels. As the primary love interest of protagonist Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), Mal is one of main players through the show's two seasons, and Renaux does a fantastic job in the role. However, it's far from his only notable character.

In 2019, two years before his "Shadow and Bone" debut, Renaux played Leo Day in the BBC miniseries "Gold Digger" alongside his future Netflix co-star Ben Barnes. He's also appeared in a number of major movies over the last few years, including the 2021 sci-fi thriller "Voyagers," the Zac Efron Vietnam dramedy "The Greatest Beer Run Ever," Lena Dunham's "Catherine Called Birdy," and the 2023 comedy "The Other Zoey." In February 2024, Renaux appeared opposite "Riverdale" star Camila Mendes in the Amazon rom-com "Upgraded." He also had a small role in the Sony superhero film "Morbius."

For now, all we know about Renaux's Tyler character in "Alien: Romulus" is that he's a core part of the young group living in the colony, which was inspired by Hadley's Hope from James Cameron's "Aliens." Fede Álvarez got the idea for the film when he saw children playing inside the colony at the beginning of the extended cut. He told Total Film: "I always thought, 'Wow, what would it be like for those kids to grow up in a terraforming colony that still needs another 50 years to be habitable? You're probably going to take the same job as your parents. What's the hope?'"

Spike Fearn

Spike Fearn is another one of the young actors filling out the "Alien: Romulus" cast, playing the role of Bjorn. Like co-stars Archie Renaux and David Jonsson, Fearn is an English actor. His onscreen career started to pick up in 2021 when he appeared in both the British coming-of-age movie "Sweetheart" and the Sky Max original film "The Amazing Mr. Blunden." The next year, Fearn popped up in a number of projects, playing Olly in the drama film "Aftersun" and an unnamed street vandal in "The Batman." Fearn also landed a couple of notable TV roles in 2022, playing Jack in three episodes of the British sitcom "Newark, Newark" and co-starring as socially inept 17 year old Louis Green on the ITVX teen drama "Tell Me Everything."

In April 2024, Fearn appeared in what is arguably his most notable movie role yet, playing real-life English singer Tyler James in the Amy Winehouse biopic "Back to Black." James was friends with Winehouse from childhood and they were housemates for a time. In the film, he pushes her demos and tries to get her noticed. "Alien: Romulus" will add another major credit to Fearn's growing filmography, attaching him to one of the most beloved franchises in Hollywood history. With luck, "Alien: Romulus" will blow us all away when it releases in theaters on August 16, 2024. Why not brush up on your xenomorph knowledge while you wait — check out our in-depth explainer of the entire "Alien" franchise.

Isabela Merced

Isabela Merced is adding the "Alien" franchise to her already lengthy resume, playing the role of Kay in "Alien: Romulus." Details about the character remain scarce, but Merced has revealed that she's involved in a "disgusting" scene. She told The Hollywood Reporter that several people couldn't stomach the scene when they gathered to watch it back on an iPad. "They all had to turn away," she said. "Not one person stayed looking at that iPad because it was so disgusting."

Merced is one of the most prolific members of the film's young cast, having popped up in a ton of high-profile projects. She landed her first major blockbuster part as tech-wiz teen Izabella in 2017's "Transformers: The Last Knight." The following year, she appeared in both the thriller sequel "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" and the Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne comedy "Instant Family." In 2019, Merced took on the role of a grown-up Dora the Explorer in the live-action adventure film "Dora and the Lost City of Gold." The film came after several years of Merced voicing the character Kate in the animated series "Dora and Friends: Into the City!"

Since then, the young star has stayed quite busy. She played opposite Jason Momoa in the 2021 Netflix thriller "Sweet Girl," appeared in the 2022 remake of "Father of the Bride," and portrayed Juliet in the irreverent 2023 "Romeo and Juliet" adaptation "Rosaline." 2024 has already been a big year for Merced outside of "Alien: Romulus," with her also playing future superhero Anya Corazon in Sony's "Madame Web" and starring as Aza Holmes in the film adaptation of John Green's "Turtles All the Way Down."