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Why Ian From The Walking Dead Looks So Familiar

This article contains spoilers for "The Walking Dead" Season 11 Episode 13, "Warlords."

"The Walking Dead" is coming ever closer to its series finale. In the 13th episode of its 11th season, Lydia (Cassady McClincy) and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) find their planned trip to the Commonwealth interrupted by the sudden emergence of a beaten, bloody man begging for help. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) resists the urge to send some of her people to investigate the young man's claims, but ultimately relents and goes with Lydia and Elijah to investigate the hubbub. Eventually, they (and we) learn about the fates of Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Toby Carlson (Jason Butler Harner), and others who attempted to recruit a small group of people in a settlement called The Riverbend the week before. The resisters are led by Ian, and his attempt at sussing the truth out of the men leads to an attempt at brokering peace — and reveals a surprising side to Carlson.

The man playing Ian has quite a history in the entertainment business. If you're a big fan of horror, westerns, and science fiction films, it's likely he's quite a familiar face to you. Why does he look so familiar? Keep reading to find out.

Michael Biehn got his start as a teen idol

Per his IMDb page, Michael Biehn got is acting start all the way back in 1977. He mainly plied his trade in teen-driven projects during his early years in the business. His very first part was in the pilot of the two-season wonder NBC drama "James at 16." He then appeared in the TV version of "Logan's Run." Biehn's very first big-screen speaking part was in the 1978 drive-in flick "The Coach," starring Cathy Lee Crosby. Biehn essays the role of Jack Ripley, one of several members of a small-town high school basketball team with state championship hopes who is stunned to learn that the new coach is a woman — track star Randy Rawlings (Crosby). 

Biehn has another uncredited, nonspeaking part as a basketball player. He's one of the athletes who finds himself teaming up with Danny Zuko (John Travolta), who's trying desperately to letter in a sport and impress his girlfriend Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) in the 1978 megahit "Grease." He then appeared in the Suzanne Somers TV Movie "Zuma Beach" before becoming a regular on the NBC drama "The Runaways," where he portrayed Mark Johnson, who had been adopted by his psychologist after running away from home. Mark is now a part of David McKay's (Robert Reed) team, and they dedicate themselves to bringing home more lost kids. "The Runaways" lasted for two seasons before being canceled. Biehn continued to take on guest roles and parts in TV movies, such as a guest-starring shot in the ABC drama "Family," until he graduated into playing adult parts.

Biehn's first major adult role was as Douglas Breen, a dangerous stalker determined to win the attention of Broadway star Sally Ross (Lauren Bacall) in the 1981 psychological thriller "The Fan."

His career took off with The Terminator

Biehn entered into pop culture history for the first time when he took on the role of Kyle Reese, time-traveling freedom fighter, in the 1984 science fiction hit "The Terminator." Reese has dedicated himself to finding and protecting everywoman Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), who is destined to give birth to a child fated to save humanity from a robot uprising in the distant future. Standing in their way is the titular Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a cyborg who has also been sent to the past to kill both Sarah and Reese.

Biehn later reflected on the experience of auditioning for the picture for Total Film. He recalls meeting James Cameron on a "regular casting call." "It was one of hundreds I've been sent throughout my career." Cameron liked his take on the material and hired him. That started a beneficial relationship between Cameron and Biehn, which would lead to two important parts for Biehn soon afterward.

Reese and Sarah's bittersweet love story would come to a tragic conclusion during the film, but it continues to affect the long-lived franchise. Kyle appears in a deleted scene from "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" but has not returned to the franchise since.

He became a cult hero with Aliens and The Abyss

Biehn appeared in three episodes of "Hill Street Blues" and a slew of TV movies before showing up in James Cameron's continuation of his "Alien" franchise, the classic 1986 action/horror film "Aliens." 

He co-stars with Sigourney Weaver as Corporal Dwayne Hicks, a member of a unit of elite colonial space marines. Weaver's Ellen Ripley has been woken from her long hypersleep to help the group investigate a distress signal emanating from LV-426, a space colony. Though she repeatedly and firmly tells them that nuking the colony from orbit is the only way to ensure that they don't have to deal with further alien attacks, she is overruled and the marines head in to explore. They find a single surviving human — a girl called Newt (Carrie Henn) — and plenty of Xenomorph and Xenomorph eggs. Cue a battle for survival.

Hicks survives the film alongside Newt and Ripley. His cocky, but caring attitude quickly helped him become a beloved member of the "Alien" franchise, and when the character was later killed off in "Alien 3," fans rebelled. Many consider Hicks and Newt's deaths as jump-the-shark moments that the franchise never recovered from.

Biehn, meanwhile, continued to build his reputation as a bankable star in the genre. He appeared in the Demi Moore sci-fi vehicle "The Seventh Sign" and the romantic drama "In a Shallow Grave" before once more teaming with Cameron for 1989's "The Abyss." He appears as Lt. Coffey, a Navy SEAL who engages a couple of formerly-married petroleum engineers with experience in deep diving to help him recover a nuclear sub that has fallen into the depths of the ocean.

He tangled at Tombstone and became one of the Magnificent Seven

Michael Biehn's next major role was a part in the ensemble action drama "Navy SEALS," which co-starred fellow "Aliens" actor Bill Paxton and notorious bad boy Charlie Sheen. In 1993 he was one of many action stars who appeared in the ensemble western "Tombstone"; Biehn essayed the role of Johnny Ringo. This definitely wouldn't be the last time he struck an impressive figure in a cowboy hat.

He appeared in the box office flop (per Box Office Mojo) "Jade" before taking on a supporting part in the Sean Connery/Nicolas Cage action blockbuster "The Rock." The actor's next most notable role would be in the cult-favorite TV hit western "The Magnificent Seven" as gunslinger Chris Larabee. Based on the hit 1960 film, the show aired on CBS from 1998 to 2000. "Mag 7" spawned two seasons and a fanbase devoted enough to gin up a writing campaign when the Eye Network tried to cancel it after its first installment (per Entertainment Weekly).

Biehn was by now well established as a cult actor, and he appeared in projects as diverse as the horror-comedy "Cherry Falls," the Wesley Snipes FBI action-drama "The Art of War," and the family-friendly sci-fi comedy "Clockstoppers" in the early '00s.

Biehn's steady stream of work led him to the Mandalorian and The Walking Dead

Biehn subsequently appeared in two short-lived TV series: the Canadian action show "Adventures Inc." and the NBC action procedural "Hawaii," both of which lasted a single season. He had a supporting role in the Anne Hathaway drama "Havoc," appeared in the "Planet Terror" segment of the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino co-production "Grindhouse," and showed up in Season 4 of "Criminal Minds" as Detective Ron Fullwood.

He has alternated between appearing in independent features — mainly horror films and science fiction projects — while showing up in larger productions. He was a regular on the Tubi series "24 Hour Rental," and appeared in the 1980s-themed comedy "Take Me Home Tonight."

More recently, Biehn appeared in the Disney + hit "The Mandalorian." He portrays Lang in episode 13 of the series, "The Jedi." Lang is a mercenary in the employ of Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), who has been hired to eliminate Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), who has been in conflict with the magistrate of Corvus. Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) soon finds himself in conflict with Lang, leading to a deadly showdown.

No matter where Michael Biehn's career takes him next, he's definitely left behind a lasting legacy on screens big and small.