‘Nothing Beats the Real Thing’: Alien: Romulus Director Reveals He Built Every Creature and Set for the Film

Director Fede Álvarez is taking a stand against the CGI trend with his upcoming film, Alien: Romulus. In a recent interview with THR, Álvarez shared his commitment to using practical effects for the film's creatures and sets, mirroring the techniques used in the iconic 1986 film Aliens.

The director's passion for practical effects extends beyond just the creatures. "I have this obsession with no green screens, so we built every creature and set," Álvarez said. "Everything had to be built so we were really living and breathing in these spaces." While he acknowledges the value of CGI in certain situations, Álvarez emphasizes that for face-to-face encounters and moments with creatures, "nothing beats the real thing."

Alien: Romulus

Alien: Romulus




Release Date

August 16, 2024


Fede Alvarez


Cailee Spaeny , David Jonsson , Archie Renaux , Isabela Merced , Aileen Wu , Spike Fearn


Fede Alvarez , Rodo Sayagues


20th Century Studios, Hulu, Scott Free Productions


Scott Free Productions , 20th Century


20th Century



Álvarez's dedication to authenticity is evident in his decision to reunite the original team responsible for creating the Xenomorphs in Aliens. He explained:

"For the creatures, we brought in all the guys from Aliens. They were in their early twenties when they made Aliens, and they were a part of Stan Winston’s [special effects] team. And now we had them at the top of their game. They have their own shops, and so we brought them all together to work on all the creatures, because we went with all animatronics and puppets at every level. I even got the chance to be under the table with them, puppeteering all these animatronics."

Watch the Alien: Romulus teaser trailer below:

Interestingly, Álvarez revealed that the legendary director Ridley Scott, who helmed the original Alien film, watched a cut of "Romulus" that had not yet had any VFX inserted in post-production. Despite the lack of digital effects, Scott was still able to get the "whole experience" of the movie, highlighting the minimal role that CGI plays in the project.

Fede Álvarez's Bold Return to Practical Effects in Alien: Romulus


Álvarez's approach is a refreshing change in an industry that often relies heavily on digital effects. By prioritizing practical effects, he aims to create a more immersive and authentic experience for the audience. "Ideally, there should be nothing there where the audience goes, 'Well, that was clearly CG,'" Álvarez remarked. "It should always feel practical." With Álvarez at the helm, the film promises to be a thrilling addition to the beloved series, blending classic techniques with modern storytelling.

Anticipation grows for what is sure to be a visually stunning and atmospheric addition to the Alien saga. Álvarez's commitment to practical effects is not only a nod to the franchise's roots but also a testament to the enduring power of tangible, real-world craftsmanship in the age of digital dominance. Alien: Romulus stands as a beacon of hope for fans longing for the tactile realism that once defined the genre, promising an experience that harks back to the days when practical effects reigned supreme.

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