Sci-Fi Icon Linda Hamilton on Resident Alien Season 3—and Stranger Things Season 5

Syfy’s Resident Alien returns today with a third season that will see Harry the extra-terrestrial (Alan Tudyk) doing his awkward best to save the Earth—now that he’s completely pivoted from his original mission of destroying humanity. He’ll have the help of his small-town Colorado friends, as well as that of a former foe: General McCallister, played by the legendary Linda Hamilton.

io9 got a chance to talk to Hamilton ahead of the season three premiere—and got in a few questions about another sci-fi project the actor is working on—a little something called Stranger Things season five—while we were at it.

Cheryl Eddy, io9: I enjoyed your cameo on the Solar Opposites Valentine’s Day specialI just interviewed Mike McMahan and he called you “the coolest person [he’d] ever met.” You must be approached to do Terminator homages all the time, so I was wondering what made you say yes to this one?

Linda Hamilton: Oh, it was just a known entity that everyone loves—and, you know, sometimes you just got to do it. I wouldn’t want to do too much of that, you know, sort of making some weird comment on what I’ve done. But, there are times where it seems just right and funny.

io9: On Resident Alien you play General McCallister, who has been an antagonist—though at the end of season two we saw that start to shift. What can you tease about what she’s up to in season three? Saving the world, presumably?

Hamilton: Yes, definitely. She and Harry join forces to try to defeat the [villainous aliens known as] the Greys. So that’s what season three is about—the General and Harry working together, although not that well.

io9: McCallister is driven by this obsession, sparked in childhood, to find out the truth about aliens. Now that she knows the truth—and so many other characters are now in on the secret—how will that change the dynamics and the drama?

Hamilton: I think it gives us a larger pool of comedy, because now other characters are involved in knowing what’s up—it really allows just all kinds of moments from some of the most gifted actors. And my character is still [dealing with] big daddy issues; just because she knows that aliens are real doesn’t mean that she still isn’t trying to prove things. Her daddy issues don’t die just because other characters know what’s going on. So I get to do some of those fun things, too. She’s more complex than one would know from just the opening couple of episodes. They are definitely building the complexity there.

io9: Resident Alien is a comedy, but McCallister has been pretty serious so far. Will we see a lighter side of her this season, especially if she’s sharing more scenes with Harry?

Hamilton: Not that much. I’m the straight man, as much as I would love to do the comedy because I am surrounded by amazing comedians on that show, all of them. Every single one are just great comedians.

io9: Is it ever hard to keep a straight face?

Hamilton: It is. I’ve had a really interesting time working with Alan because he’s just brilliant and continues to build the scene as we go and add things. You never know when he’s done, when to step in with your line. And comedy is all about timing. But I get so captivated watching him. I think there are times where even my face has gone like, “Ohhhhh” [exaggerated smile]. He does some really precious things. So there are times where it’s just hard to sort of keep up with him, and he sets the standard.

Image for article titled Sci-Fi Icon Linda Hamilton on Resident Alien Season 3—and Stranger Things Season 5

Screenshot: Syfy

io9: You’re a sci-fi icon and as we see with Solar, Resident Alien, and the upcoming Stranger Things, you’re often cast in the genre. What do you love most about science fiction?

Hamilton: I’ve had great success with the Syfy Channel just because their shows are so outside the box. You know, they’re not family dramas. There’s monsters. There’s wacky, wacky characters. [They are] very inclusive, I have found, in their casting. It’s just a delight to go down that road and play some of these characters that I’ve gotten to play. You know, where it’s not your typical “just be a beautiful woman, saying her lines.” You know what I mean? I’m much more, I think, a character actress and I’m sort of living my best life right now, getting to play women where the focus isn’t just on, you know, have my nails been manicured enough.

io9: You said when the casting was announced that you’re a huge Stranger Things fan. What’s it like joining a show that you already love and that already has such a huge fan base?

Hamilton: Altogether different from anything else I’ve done. I really felt like, [is] there a place for me in that show? Having watched it for four seasons and loving it so much—I thought, I don’t belong there. That’s their world. It’s really interesting [to] try to insert yourself in a story that you know very well. It was a little odd for me; I felt a little bit of the imposter syndrome there. But we’re making it work. I’m delighted and having a wonderful time on that show.

io9: As we’ve seen from previous seasons with actors like Paul Reiser and Robert England, Stranger Things loves to cast performers who are known for a certain genre, to sort of wink at fans of the genre and capture some of that affection for their earlier projects. Without getting into spoilers—would you say that’s the case with your role in season five?

Hamilton: Yes. [Laughs.] Yes. They’ve created a good place for me. And I’m going to run with it.

io9: We can assume, especially since this is Stranger Things’ final season, you’ll have to sit on some major spoilers until the show airs. What’s that experience like for you as a performer, not being able to reveal specifics about what you’re working on?

Hamilton: I tend to be an open book and will say anything. I mean, I don’t have much of a filter. I’m not image-oriented, so I don’t protect myself. Ridiculous, in today’s world. But I now have people that will text me and go, “Where are you now? Or can you say?” They all know that everything I’m doing is kind of shrouded in mystery. And I am so careful with the scripts—if I print one out, I bring it to [the production company] to shred. They don’t really encourage anyone just to print out a script, but I’m kind of old school; I just love to see it written as opposed to on my computer. The pressure that comes with protecting all of their secrets is interesting. But I’m doing it! I don’t want to be the one that lets the cat out of the bag.

Resident Alien Season 3 Official Trailer | Don’t Worry, Harry’s Going to Save Us All | SYFY

Resident Alien season three arrives today, February 14, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, with the premiere simulcast on USA. You can also stream the episodes the next day on Peacock.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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