Alien: Romulus: Release date, cast, plot of Fede Álvarez’s Alien movie

New sci-fi horror proves you can’t keep a good Xenomorph down

Fede Álvarez will direct a new Alien movie. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox/Alamy)
Fede Álvarez will direct a new Alien movie. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox/Alamy) (AP Photo/20th Century Fox/Alamy)

They say in space, no one can hear you scream but on movie screens, screaming is rife - and we expect plenty of it from Fede Álvarez’s new Alien movie rumoured to be called Alien: Romulus.

This blood-soaked space horror series has had quite a journey since visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott first snuck it aboard pop culture back in 1979.

After Sigourney Weaver’s Lt. Ellen Ripley survived her first scrape with a Xenomorph on doomed space freighter the Nostromo, she encountered these drooling star beasts three more times alongside James Cameron in 1986’s Aliens, David Fincher in 1992’s Alien 3 and Jean Pierre-Jeunet in 1997’s Alien: Ressurection.

Read more: Alien 3: Ralph Brown shares chaotic experience on David Fincher’s troubled sequel

Since then, Ripley’s taken some well-earned downtime as the aliens have continued their reign of terror in a number of spin-offs, some high-brow (see: Scott’s 2012 prequel Prometheus and 2017 sequel Alien: Covenant) and some not so much (see: 2004’s Alien Vs. Predator and 2007 follow up AVP: Requiem).

So where exactly does this new one fit in? Who’s starring in it, when can we watch it and is there a trailer? Read on to find out everything we know about Alien: Romulus thus far.

When is Alien: Romulus released?

Alien: Romulus will reportedly be released exclusively in cinemas on 16 August, 2024 but this is liable to change as the date gets closer.

This theatrical debut marks a change in its planned direct-to-streaming launch however, thanks to its Hulu links, we can likely find it available on that streamer and its Disney+ equivalent later down the line.

While extra details about the release are sparse, original franchise starter Scott is apparently already a fan. Speaking to filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, director Álvarez revealed that Scott had not only seen the movie but thought it was "f**king great."

According to Entertainment Weekly, Álvarez discussed an encounter with Scott with del Toro, saying: "He walks into the room and he did say, 'Fede, what can I say? It's f**king great.'"

He continued, adding: "For me it was like... My family knows it was one of the best moments of my life to have a master like him, who I admired so much, to even watch a movie I made... but particularly something like this... and talk to me for an hour about what he liked about it.

"One of the best compliments he said was, 'The dialogue is great. Are you the writer?' Yes!"

Is Alien: Romulus a direct sequel or a reboot?

Ridley Scott directed the first Alien film in 1979. (20th Century Fox - Brandywine Productions/Alamy)
Ridley Scott directed the first Alien film in 1979. (20th Century Fox - Brandywine Productions/Alamy) (Collection Christophel, Collection Christophel)

Sequel? Reboot? Re-hatching? Alvarez’s new Alien movie was able to enter production as stealthily as a face-hugger attack — but what exactly is it?

News of a new Alien instalment was officially announced back in March 2022 after the Fox and Disney merger had taken place, with Álvarez directing and original film helmer Scott on producing duty. Álvarez is of course no stranger to the horror genre, having previously retooled Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead in 2013 and bringing us the tense home-invasion thriller Don’t Breathe in 2016.

The same release confirmed that Álvarez’s Alien movie will be a stand-alone feature, “unconnected to the previous movies.” The film is being produced via 20th Century Studios for American streamer Hulu, in much the same way 2022's Predator spin-off Prey was.

Ultimately, this will make Alien: Romulus the seventh feature film in the primary Alien storyline and the ninth feature overall to feature the Xenomorph.

What is the plot of Alien: Romulus?

Franchise star Sigourney Weaver is not expect to return for Alien: Romulus. (Fox)
Franchise star Sigourney Weaver is not expect to return for Alien: Romulus. (Fox)

Production for Alien: Romulus began in March 2023 in Budapest, Hungary and wrapped a few months later in early July.

This we know. But sadly, we don’t know much else besides the film’s cryptic official synopsis which explains the film will introduce us to “a group of young people on a distant world, who find themselves in a confrontation with the most terrifying life form in the universe.”

Meatier story details are currently being kept close to Álvarez’s chest however, we do know that his initial pitch was strong enough to impress both Scott and studio bigwigs.

According to those close to the project, Álvarez is a huge fan of the Alien franchise and first pitched an original idea to Scott a number of years ago.

Whatever that idea was, it must have been good — because it stuck in the Blade Runner filmmaker’s mind and eventually spurred him on to call Álvarez up and ask him if he wanted to make it a reality.

“It was just a really good story with a bunch of characters you haven’t seen before.” explained 20th Century Studios spokesperson ​​Steve Asbell.

While speaking to the press at the Gotham Awards in late November, Álvarez new star Cailee Spaeny shared some fresh details about when this new story is set.

“It’s supposed to slot in between the first movie and the second movie,” Spaeny told Variety.

“They brought the same team from ‘Aliens,’ the James Cameron film. The same people who built those xenomorphs actually came on and built ours. So getting to see the original design with the original people who have been working on these films for 45-plus years and has been so much of their life has been really incredible.”

Who’s starring in Alien: Romulus?

Mare of East Town star Cailee Spaeny will front Alien: Romulus. (AP Photo)
Mare of East Town star Cailee Spaeny will front Alien: Romulus. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Sigourney Weaver is not expected to return for Alien: Romulus. Instead, Álvarez will introduce us to a host of newcomers and pit them against a vicious foe, with Mare of East Town’s Cailee Spaeny leading the way.

According to reports, she’ll be joined by Shadow and Bone’s Archie Renaux, Industry’s David Jonsson, Rosaline star Isabela Merced, Away From Home’s Aileen Wu and The Batman’s Spike Fearn.

Is there a trailer for Alien: Romulus?

As of yet, no trailer has emerged for Alien: Romulus. Maybe it’s lurking in the vents…

Will there be an Alien TV series?

An Alien TV series is currently in the works which will exist separately from Álvarez’s stand-alone movie and be spearheaded by Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley for FX.

As reported by Collider, news surrounding a potential show first broke in December 2020, with more details being unveiled in during the Television Critics Awards in January 2023. It was here where we learned that Hawley was in pre-production on the show and currently writing it, with Scott once again producing.

Later, Deadline revealed that Don’t Worry Darling star Sydney Chandler will lead the series which is set on Earth 70 years into the future. This development makes Hawley’s Alien project the first of the franchise’s primary tales to be set on our own planet.

Sydney Chandler will star in the as-yet-untitled Alien series. (Invision/AP)
Sydney Chandler will star in the as-yet-untitled Alien series. (Invision/AP) (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Speaking to Esquire, Hawley dished out more plot details, saying: “It’s set on Earth of the future. At this moment, I describe that as Edison versus Westinghouse versus Tesla. Someone’s going to monopolise electricity. We just don’t know which one it is.

"In the movies, we have this Weyland-Yutani Corporation, which is clearly also developing artificial intelligence. But what if there are other companies trying to look at immortality in a different way?

“With cyborg enhancements or transhuman downloads? Which of those technologies is going to win? It’s ultimately a classic science fiction question: does humanity deserve to survive?”

American actress Sigourney Weaver on the set of the film Aliens, directed by James Cameron. (Photo by Bob Penn/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Michael Biehn, Sigourney Weaver and Bill Paxton on the set of Aliens, directed by James Cameron. (Bob Penn/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images) (Bob Penn via Getty Images)

We also know that it is set before the presence of Lt. Ripley — or any other familiar faces for that matter — thanks to FX Chairman John Landgraf, who explained: “Alien takes place before Ripley. It’s the first story that takes place in the Alien franchise on Earth.

“So, it takes place on our planet. Right near the end of this century, we’re in — so 70-odd years from now. Ripley won’t be a part of it or any of the other characters of Alien other than the alien itself.”

While there's no Ripley, Landgraf did promise "big surprises" for fans.

As it stands, the Alien TV series doesn’t have an official title or release date.

Alien: Romulus will be released on 16 August, 2024.

Watch a trailer for the original Alien