Alien: Romulus’ Most Controversial Element Isn’t Just Disrespectful, It Makes No Sense

By Brian Myers | Updated

alien romulus

Unconfirmed reports surrounding the production of the latest film in the Alien franchise have fans online buzzing about a move that many feel is disrespectful to the late actor Sir Ian Holm. Holm, who co-starred in the original film in the series in 1979 as Ash, passed away in 2020. But if rumors surrounding the upcoming Alien: Romulus are true, an AI version of Holm will be featured in the film, a move that I feel warrants some criticisms.

An AI Ian Holm

alien: romulus

Aliens: Romulus is rumored to feature Holm’s likeness in an AI generated role, in what seems to be a move to bring back his character Ash from the 1979 film Alien. The AI character is named Rook, perhaps a nod to the android Bishop played by Lance Henrikson in Aliens and Aliens 3.

A Disrespectful Move

Let me first point out how it’s disrespectful to use AI to create a likeness of a revered actor. Not only does it come off as a move that’s cringy, but it also robs other, real-life actors of a possible role. While this has not been confirmed by the producers of Alien: Romulus, it is based on information that has been leaked from alleged insiders of the production.

Why Not A New Actor?

One question we should be asking is why would the studio use AI when it would be feasible to use an actor with similar features? This is something that the franchises have done in the past and is easy enough to do. Hair and makeup go a long way on film, as do prosthetics.

Ash’s Status As An Android Was Supposed To Be Secret

The insertion of the AI version of Holm in Alien: Romulus doesn’t make sense logistically, either. Consider the entire reason why the Weyland-Yutani Corporation constructed the android played by Holm to begin with. Ash’s identity as an android wasn’t known to anyone aboard the ship, and his mission was to bring back the alien lifeform even at the expense of the entire crew.

If the character Rook in Alien: Romulus is supposed to be another version of Ash, it would mean that the leadership at Weyland-Yutani would have made the ridiculous decision to make multiple identical androids. Ash’s identity as an android, after all, was supposed to be hush-hush. What a worse way to out Ash than to have more of him out into the galaxy and endanger future covert operations.

Ash Is Long Dead

alien: romulus

The idea of Ash in Alien: Romulus is problematic on another level, too. The film is supposed to take place in between Alien and Aliens, somewhere in that nearly 60-year gap that saw Ripley in stasis aboard the escape shuttle. So if one argues that Ash and the Alien: Romulus character Rook are the same, it will mean totally ignoring that Ash was destroyed in the first film.

The Alien Films

aliens newt james cameron
Newt James Cameron

Alien: Romulus will serve as the ninth film in the popular science fiction/horror franchise. The entire Alien cinematic universe has led to worldwide box office receipts of nearly $1.5 billion, led by the franchise’s seventh installment, Prometheus at $402 million. The last film, Alien: Covenant, saw a dip in returns, giving the studio hope that the upcoming ninth film will allow the series to financially rebound.