Alien: Romulus' menacing first trailer suggests the sci-fi horror series might finally get another great sequel

Cailee Spaney's character holds a gun and looks around her in a spaceship in Alien: Romulus
Alien: Romulus will make its theatrical debut in mid-August. (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

The first trailer for Alien: Romulus has burst out of the film industry's metaphorical chest to emerge online – and it suggests we're in for a hair-raising ride when it debuts in theaters.

Directed by Fede Alvarez (Don't Breathe, Evil Dead), the seventh movie entry in the sci-fi horror franchise is looking like a particularly frightening experience. Indeed, the trailer for one of 2024's new movies might only be 55 seconds long, but it packs a lot into its all-too-brief runtime.

With its suitably foreboding atmosphere, blood-curling screams, and terrifying pack of hunting facehuggers – was anybody else shouting "nope nope nope" at the screen when they appeared? – too, Alien: Romulus might finally give us another great (and ridiculously overdue) Alien sequel.

Alien: Romulus' plot is largely shrouded in secrecy, but 20th Century Studios – plus the film's cast and crew – have slowly started to peel back its layers.

For starters, it's set between 1977's Alien and 1986's Aliens movies, a fact that lead star Cailee Spaeny (Priscilla) confirmed to Variety in November 2023. It's a standalone tale in the Ridley Scott-developed film franchise, too, so it'll sit independent of the aforementioned Sigourney Weaver-starring flicks.

20th Century Studios also provided a very vague story synopsis alongside Romulus' first teaser, which simply reads: "While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonisers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe". Hey, I did warn you it was pretty nebulous.

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Aaaand that's about it, I'm afraid. Aside from Alien Romulus' key creators – Alvarez is its director and co-writer, while Scott is on board as an executive producer – there's little else we know about it. Well, apart from its confirmed cast, with Spaeny being joined by Archie Renaux (Shadow and Bone), Isabela Merced (The Last of Us season 2), Spike Fearn (Aftersun), David Jonsson (Murder Is Easy), and newcomer Aileen Wu.

Alien: Romulus will launch exclusively in theaters worldwide on August 16.

When it comes to teasers, less is more

As brief as Alien: Romulus' trailer is, it's extremely satisfying to see a movie teaser that doesn't give away everything about its plot.

The entertainment industry's obsession with showing key story details in film and TV show trailers is frankly ridiculous. Nowadays, too many trailers have runtimes that exceed two and a half minutes, and which practically spoil their narratives. Just look at Universal's latest trailer for Ryan Gosling's The Fall Guy – you can watch it above – which is over three minutes in length, and effectively lays out its entire plot ahead of its May release. The same was true of Madame Web's first teaser, which also exceeded three minutes, and saw the Spider-Man spin-off flick's entire plot spelled out before it made its maligned arrival in theaters in February.

In sharp contrast, Romulus' teaser is just that – a tease of what's to come. It preserves an air of mystery, choosing instead to demonstrate how it's hoping to take the Alien franchise back to roots. With its confined spaceship-set location, the re-appearance of facehuggers, a horror-driven ambience, and a small group of humans fighting for survival against (in this trailer at least) a single xenomorph, it seems like it'll do just that.

Of course, we've been here before with Alien sequels – Prometheus and Alien: Covenant's trailers suggested they could break the Alien movie curse before they crashed and burned at the box office. Romulus, though, looks like it could crack the code. With an Alien TV show from Fargo creator Noah Hawley set to debut on FX via Hulu (in the US anyway) in 2025, too, thing's might be looking up for the Alien franchise's future if Romulus and its TV cousin are successful. Time will tell if they are – but based on Romulus' first teaser, it seems that the Alvarez-directed flick could start to steady the sci-fi horror movie series' ship.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.


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