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Why Allen The Alien From Invincible Sounds So Familiar

Amazon is bringing one of Image Comics' fan-favorite titles, Invincible, to the screen. Based on the comic by The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley, the animated series will debut on Prime on March 26, 2021. Invincible is about Mark Grayson, a second-generation superhero struggling to live up to the image of his father, Nolan Grayson, aka Omni-Man.

The show will follow Mark as he comes into his superpowers and makes shocking discoveries about the world and his role in it. Invincible has been in development since 2018, during which time the superhero genre has only grown. We've recently seen the release of the Snyder Cut of Justice League, critical acclaim for The Boys, and the return of water cooler discussions (minus the water coolers, as most people work from home now) with WandaVision

Invincible stars Academy Award nominee Steven Yeun as Mark Grayson, Oscar winner J.K. Simmons as Nolan, and Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh as Mark's mother Debbie. Additional voices will be provided by Gillian Jacobs, Mahershala Ali, Jon Hamm, Mark Hamill, and Seth Rogen as Allen the Alien. If Allen sounds familiar to you, here's why.

Apatow acolyte

Seth Rogen got his start working with Judd Apatow, who cast him in his critically acclaimed one-season wonder, Freaks and Geeks. Rogen played one of the freaks, Ken Miller. When Freaks and Geeks was cancelled before its time, Apatow moved on to another one-season show, Undeclared. He took Rogen with him, casting him as You've Got Mail megafan Ron as well as staffing him as a writer. Rogen even appeared in Apatow's big film break, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carrell.

Thanks to his Apatow connections, Rogen got to meet Tom Cruise. Apatow took Rogen with him to a general meeting with the Mission: Impossible star. "And no one knew who Seth was. He wasn't famous so he was just a dude with me," Apatow told Stephen Colbert in 2018. Somehow, the conversation got steered into Rogen's most comfortable areas of discussion: drugs and pornography. "And [Rogen] starts talking about watching adult films on the Internet and Tom Cruise goes, 'What? Wait, you're saying there's adult films on the Internet?'" Apatow and Rogen then had to explain the wonders of the Internet to the star of Top Gun.

A leading man turn in Knocked Up

Seth Rogen went with Judd Apatow to meet Tom Cruise because, yet again, the two were working together. The comedy buddies were shooting Knocked Up, the romantic comedy that would cement Rogen's leading man status. The film stars Rogen as Ben, a man who impregnates a much more beautiful and successful woman, Alison (Katherine Heigl). 

Knocked Up became emblematic of the mid-2000s man-child movie, wherein a dude with arrested development learns to become a real adult through a relationship with a (sometimes under-written) woman. Katherine Heigl critiqued the film, telling Vanity Fair that it "paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys." Rogen expressed hurt over the comments later but also disapproved of how Hollywood seemed to abandon her afterwards. "The only people who in this situation should in any way take anything from it is me and Judd because we're the ones she was talking about," Rogen told Howard Stern. "For other people to not work with her because she didn't like her experience with us — I think is crazy."

Superbad worked out super good for Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen moved firmly into writer-producer mode with 2007's Superbad. Based on a screenplay Rogen began co-writing with Evan Goldberg way back when they were 13, the film stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as fictionalized counterparts of the screenwriting duo. Superbad is a classic "one crazy night" film, following two teenagers trying to be cool and bring booze to a house party. Rogen also acted in the film, playing one of two cops whose plot intersects with Hill and Cera's at different points.

Superbad has become a highly influential movie, with many teen raunch romps getting compared to the film. Jonah Hill's sister, Beanie Feldstein, starred in 2019's Booksmart, which some called the female Superbad. After Superbad, Rogen co-wrote, produced, and starred in such films as Pineapple Express, The Green Hornet, This Is the End, The Interview, Sausage Party, and Neighbors 2.

Allen isn't Seth Rogen's first alien role

Seth Rogen has voiced more than one alien character. In 2011, Rogen voiced Paul in Paul. The film co-stars the Cornetto trilogy's Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and follows their comic book geek characters as they discover a hard-drinking, partying alien. The two eventually help Paul return to his planet. Paul also stars Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Jason Bateman, and Sigourney Weaver.

Rogen also played a monster — not an alien, but still science fiction-y — in DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens and reprised the role in multiple shorts and TV specials. Besides being a monster and an alien, Rogen has voiced a praying mantis in the Kung Fu Panda franchise, a sausage in Sausage Party, and Pumbaa in the "live action" remake of The Lion King.

Seth Rogen brings not only an extensive voice acting résumé to Invincible but a remarkable familiarity with comic books. Paul was a love letter to classic comics and science fiction, and Rogen also adapted the classic Vertigo series Preacher for television, in addition to being one of many executive producers on Invincible's fellow Amazon show, The Boys.