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Back in July, Alan Tudyk challenged the cutest member of the Star Wars universe (Grogu) to a fight with the cutest member of Resident Alien (Bridget). “They should go toe-to-toe and fight, and our baby alien would win," he said onstage at San Diego Comic-Con. Them's fightin' words, but only Tudyk — who has a foot in both genre worlds as reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO and the fake Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle, respectively — could make such a heated declaration and get away with it.
Sci-fi rivalry aside, though, there's no denying that extra-terrestrial toddlers are adorable, especially when a production goes the extra mile by including a practical puppet on the set. According to Resident Alien creator, showrunner, and executive producer Chris Sheridan, the series made use of "two different baby aliens styles" for Season 2.
"One is a robotic one [where] they can move his head around, they can move his mouth, and the hands are puppeted," he recently explained to SYFY WIRE during a postmortem breakdown of the season finale. "That one has a lot of movement [in] Episode 15. Before the baby pukes up the alien ball, [it's] sitting in between Harry and Robert and the head is moving around and all that stuff. And also in 16, when Harry gets in the pod with him and the baby's looking up at him, that's all a robot baby that they're practically moving."
Then there's a "foam baby" utilized for more action-heavy sequences like in Episode 15 "when Harry's running around and the baby's on his shoulder," Sheridan added.
"It's lighter and it's easier." Even so, both versions still "need a little bit of CGI enhancement. Usually when you see the tail moving, that's CGI. We try to CGI the hands a little bit [in order] to give a little bit of movement, so it’s not so stiff. Some eye stuff we can enhance … Some [digital] tweaks are helpful to give it a little bit more life, but you'd be surprised at how real that thing can look even without it."
During a separate interview with us, principal cast member Meredith Garretson (Kate Hawthorne) hailed the use of "in-camera" effects, "especially in the world of CGI," she said. "There’s nothing wrong with [CGI], but the idea of you standing there and there's a green screen and nothing's really happening behind you...that's a hard job to fill up all of that energy and make all of that real for yourself. But to actually have 3D things in the space with you, an analog thing in a digital world, is really cool."
Production on Season 3 of Resident Alien kicks off in early 2023.