Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE Chris Sheridan

Nathan Fillion's Hilarious Resident Alien Cameo Explained By Showrunner Chris Sheridan

No role is too small or cephalopod-y for the great Nathan Fillion.

By Josh Weiss

Fellow Browncoats! Two crew members of the Serenity enjoy a brief reunion in the first season of SYFY's Resident Alien. Did you happen to catch it? Alan Tudyk was easy to spot because ... well, he's Alan Tudyk. The other Firefly alum, however, was totally incognito.

Need a hint? He had eight tentacles and lived in a tank at a sushi joint in Patience, Colorado. Yep, your ears were not deceiving you — the octopus that shares a chat with Harry was indeed voiced by Malcolm Reynolds himself, Nathan Fillion. During a phone interview with SYFY WIRE back in 2021, creator/showrunner Chris Sheridan exclusively reveals that the cameo role was all Tudyk's idea.

Nathan Fillion Resident Alien Cameo Explained By Series Showrunner

"At one point, I had gone to Alan to see if he wanted to [voice the octopus] in a different voice or something," he recalls. "And then, I think in that conversation, he suggested Nathan Fillion, which, of course we thought was an amazing idea and we asked if he thought he’d have a chance to get in touch with him and see if he wanted to do it. We loved trying to get those two together again in this little, weird way. We reached out to Nathan and he was into it ... Like everyone is doing these days, he recorded from home at the time. But he played with the part and ad-libbed some really funny things. It’s a really odd role and I think Nathan was just hysterical in it."

Harry Gets a Pep Talk from an Octopus? | Episode 7 Highlight

For More on Resident Alien

Exclusive First Look: Here's What's Next For Dark Horse's Resident Alien Comic Series

What We Know about Mizar-Alcor, the Home of Resident Alien's Harry Vanderspeigle

Why Did Resident Alien Dedicate Its Season 3 Premiere to Rick Neale?

In the world of Resident Alien, Harry's people share a genetic link with Earth-bound octopi, but the common ancestor (maybe Cthulhu?) that makes them cousins is never revealed. It's a very Douglas Addams-y touch that shellacs on another layer of bizarre and surrealist comedy to the hit show. So long and thanks for all the fish!

Unfortunately, Fillion's octopus, who goes by the name 42 (most likely a nod to Addams' meaning of the universe from The Hitchhiker's Dude to the Galaxy) passed away in Season 2, with Harry deciding to eat the suction-cupped remains with a nice bottle of white wine.

The first two seasons of Resident Alien can be found on Peacock. Season 3 episodes air on Wednesdays at 10/9c on SYFY, and stream next day on Peacock.

Originally published Mar 23, 2021.