In May of 2002, the aliens residing in Roswell, New Mexico graduated high school and went on the run from the government authorities trying to hunt them down. They took their human allies with them, and a generation of TV junkies said goodbye to the Crashdown Cafe and the UFO Center, along with the characters they’d loved for three seasons.
Since then, the team behind the WB/UPN series Roswell has gone on to bigger projects, spreading their wings on the small and big screens alike. Show runner Jason Katims went on to develop and produce dramas like Boston Legal, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, and more recently, Hulu’s The Path. He shared producing and writing duties with Ronald D. Moore in season two of the series, who went on to be the show runner for the Battlestar Galactica remake and its many TV movies and spinoffs that followed.
The cast of the series has a varied post-Roswell life. Some have stayed in television while others have attempted to break into movies, all with varying degrees of success. One thing’s for sure - they’ve definitely left their mark on Hollywood.
15 Katherine Heigl (Isabel)
For the entire run of the show, Katherine Heigl starred as Isabel Evans, one of the alien-human hybrids who came from a royal line on her home planet. She was pretty and popular at the start of the series, surrounding herself with people who made her feel important but holding everyone at arm’s length, determined to hide the secret of her heritage from anyone who tried to get close. Over the course of the series, she mellowed, though she remained the most responsible of her friends, and fell in love with one of the lawyers who worked at her father’s firm.
Since the series, Heigl’s biggest (and most memorable) role to date was her turn as another Isabelle, this one Isabelle Stevens of Grey’s Anatomy. She left the show behind to pursue other projects, and landed in several comedies on the big screen, including Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, and New Year’s Eve. Most recently, she produced and starred in State of Affairs for one season before landing the lead in the new drama Doubt.
Heigl can currently be seen in theaters in the drama Unforgettable.
14 Adam Rodriguez (Jesse)
Adam Rodriguez was a late addition to the series. He began his work on Roswell in the final season as the lawyer who romanced Isabel. The two only know one another for four months before they decide to get married, but Jesse doesn’t even know that Isabel’s part alien until long after the fact. When Isabel and her friends go on the run in the series finale, Jesse is even left behind, with Isabel hoping that he gets to live a normal life without her.
Not long after Roswell aired its final episode, Rodriguez moved to a very different kind of series - the crime procedural. Rodriguez is probably best known for his role as Eric Delko on CSI: Miami, though he’s got plenty of follow-up television series to his name that allowed him a varied acting resume: Ugly Betty, The Night Shift, Empire, and Jane The Virgin. He also showed off his moves in Magic Mike XXL.
Most recently, he’s joined the cast of another crime drama, Criminal Minds, as the show has gone through a lot casting changes over the last few seasons.
13 Colin Hanks (Alex)
There was one member of the original core group of six teenagers who wasn’t let in on the big alien secret right away. That was Alex, brought to life by Colin Hanks. Though Hanks had a few roles before his part on Roswell, the series was definitely his big break. Alex Whitman was the geek of the group, and generally the most level-headed, but he was tragically killed in season two as Hanks moved on to pursue other projects, though he would still appear off and on as Isabel spoke to her imaginary version of Alex after his death.
Hanks landed in a few teen comedies (Get Over It and Orange County) in his early days post-Roswell. Those didn’t go quite as well as the teams involved hoped, but Hanks, growing up in a showbiz-savvy household with Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks for parents, didn’t let that stop him. He went on to appear in the miniseries Band of Brothers and 2005's King Kong before getting back into television with Dexter and Fargo.
Hanks currently stars on the CBS sitcom Life in Pieces, which was renewed for a third season. (Former Roswell co-star Majandra Delfino recently guest starred in an episode as well.)
12 Emilie De Ravin (Tess)
When Emilie De Ravin made her debut as Tess, her character was almost universally hated by fans. A fourth alien-human hybrid that the audience didn’t initially know about, the character was used as a road block to the relationship between main characters Liz and Max. Over time, the audience warmed to her as she struggled to fit in and saved lives on more than one occasion. Of course, just as the audience warmed up, Tess betrayed everyone they cared about. Luckily, the series gave her a bit of redemption in the end.
De Ravin had one credit prior to Roswell for the fantasy series Beastmaster, which filmed in her native Australia. Roswell didn’t open a ton of acting doors, but it did put her in a position to audition for roles in American projects. After a series of independent movies and smaller roles, De Ravin landed the role of a lifetime as Claire in ABC’s LOST, and she was one of the few characters utilized during the entire run of the show.
These days, De Ravin stars as Belle in the fairy tale series Once Upon A Time, created by some of the same writers and producers she worked with on LOST.
11 Jim Ortlieb (Nasedo)
When a show uses the story of the 1947 Roswell crash as its inspiration, the series' only aliens can’t just be teenagers. Enter Nasedo, a shapeshifter primarily played by Jim Ortlieb. Nasedo was sent to Earth in the spaceship at the center of the Roswell conspiracy, along with the pods housing the alien-human hybrids. He was meant to be their protector, but Tess was the only one of the four he spent time with, raising her and negotiating with other alien races on her behalf. He was killed by a member of one of those alien races in the season two premiere of the series.
Since Roswell, it’s nearly impossible to not have seen Ortlieb somewhere. Immediately following his time on the series, he recurred as a professor on WB series Felicity and then appeared all over television. In addition to small roles in movies and guest spots in dozens of TV shows, he’s done several national commercials and is a regular on the Broadway stage. He was in the 2014 cast of Of Mice and Men that was broadcast in movie theaters.
This year, Ortlieb guest starred in an episode of Chicago Justice as a judge, and he has two movies on the way - Whisper and Inheritance.
10 David Conrad (Agent Pierce)
When the aliens and their human friends are worried about the government tracking them down, they need a nemesis. Theirs was David Conrad’s Agent Pierce, who first disguised himself as a sheriff’s deputy to get the inside track on Roswell. Pierce was in a special unit of the FBI, hoping to get his hands on a real, live alien. At one point, Pierce was killed by Nasedo, but due to Nasedo being a shapeshifter, Conrad got to stick around and play the part.
Following his stint on Roswell, Conrad had a series regular role in the supernatural drama Ghost Whisperer. He had a few roles on the big screen, like Wedding Crashers, but he returned to the world of sci-fi thanks to playing another villain for ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Conrad spent seven episodes as Ian Quinn, a villain who still has a few plot threads hanging and could potentially make a return.
Conrad was last seen on the small screen in an episode of Castle and in The Curse of the Fuentes Women, a pilot that ended up not going to series. He’s also been busy on the stage, appearing in several plays over the last few years.
9 William Sadler (Sheriff Valenti)
With a career that spans four decades, William Sadler has had more opportunities than most to dig into layered characters. Sheriff Valenti was one of the many he had the chance to play. Valenti started as an antagonist for the series, a man aiming to find proof of aliens in Roswell and clear the stigma of “crazy” from his father. Eventually, he would change his mind, as his own son was saved thanks to one of the aliens he was so busy hunting, and he would later become integral to keeping the secrets of the teenagers.
Sadler followed Roswell up with the short-lived Wonder Falls before guest starring in numerous TV shows. He also appeared in films like August Rush and The Mist before landing a role that could keep him busy with plenty of work in short scenes for years. Sadler was cast as President Ellis for the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Iron Man 3, and he's had the chance to appear in two other projects (Agents of SHIELD and WHiH Newfront) associated with the MCU.
Sadler most recently appeared in When We Rise and The Blacklist on the small screen, but he also has five movies lined up for the next year.
8 Nick Wechsler (Kyle)
Before Liz and Max became the pair of star-crossed lovers the audience loved to watch, Liz was casually seeing the sheriff’s son Kyle, played by Nick Wechsler. Kyle was a popular and athletic guy with a spot on several of the high school sports teams. He thought the concept of aliens were ridiculous and he didn’t understand why his dad was obsessed with them - until he was healed by one and became a part of the conspiracy himself. Over time, he became friends with the people he used to hate, and he eventually became a Buddhist as a way to understand and cope with the changes in his life.
Since his time on Roswell, Wechsler has mostly stuck to TV projects. His resume boasts guest appearances on Malcolm in the Middle, Without A Trace, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and more. Most avid television watchers, though, will remember him for his long-term role as Jack on the ABC drama Revenge, but after the series ended, he moved on to a slightly different type of drama. As of this year, he’s been recurring on the crime procedural Chicago PD, which was just renewed for an additional season.
7 John Doe (Jeff Parker)
A teen drama just isn’t complete without a few meddling parents, is it? Musician and actor John Doe brought Liz’s father, Jeff Parker, to life. Well known and well liked in town, Mr. Parker owned The Crashdown, a local diner that named its menu items after alien-related pop culture references (like the Will Smith burger, thanks to Men In Black). As he watched his little girl grow up, he became increasingly worried about her being secretive and getting into trouble, something she had never done in her earlier years. To keep her away from Max Evans, the boy he thought was causing the changes in his daughter, he even sent her to boarding school at one point.
With his band, John Doe is just as known for his music as he is for his acting. In addition to his music being featured in shows where he appeared like One Tree Hill, which prided themselves on introducing their audience to underrated musicians, Doe also appeared in the Ronald D. Moore series Carnivale that Moore developed during the tail end of his time on Roswell. He’s since appeared in a string of guest TV appearances and short films.
Up next for Doe is the drama All Creatures Here Below and the comedy You’re Gonna Miss Me.
6 Diane Farr (Amy DeLuca)
Just as emotional and quick to jump to conclusions as her teenage daughter, Amy Deluca had the same kind of entrepreneurial spirit as the Parker family. She sold trinkets and souvenir items in Roswell, all based around the idea of aliens being among us. She wasn’t in on the alien conspiracy either, though she did have some of her memories modified by Tess to keep her in the dark - a move that came back to haunt the group later.
After Roswell, actress Diane Farr went on to be a series regular on the crime drama Numb3rs and the FX firefighting series, Rescue Me. She’s appeared in a number of movies and television series since then, but younger audiences will recognize her for her recurring role on The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
Most recently, Farr has also been recurring on the ABC sitcom Black-ish.
5 Garrett M. Brown (Phillip Evans)
If the audience thought Jeff Parker was a meddling parent, they were in for a treat, because he had nothing on Phillip Evans. The man who adopted Max and Isabel, Mr. Evans always seemed to want to keep some distance between his kids and Michael Guerin, despite them all being best friends immediately. Over the course of the show, he became more and more suspicious of his children, trying to unravel the conspiracy surrounding them, and almost ruining his relationship with both of them.
Like many of the actors who appeared in Roswell, Brown largely stuck to television projects following the series, including Boston Public, The O.C., and Big Love. Movie audiences will recognize Brown for his role in Kick-Ass and its sequel, as well as another movie about an alien in a high school - I Am Number Four - though the latter didn’t start the YA movie franchise the studio had hoped they had on their hands.
Most recently, Garrett M. Brown has had longer TV arcs in Masters of Sex and American Crime Story.
4 Brendan Fehr (Michael)
Before landing the role of Michael Guerin on Roswell, Brendan Fehr’s roles were largely as background characters. Roswell gave him the chance to shine as a troubled teenage boy who pretended he didn’t care about anyone in order to protect his secret - and himself from getting hurt. Michael was one of the “Royal Four,” the human-alien hybrids sent to Earth for safety. He was the guy skipping class, constantly in trouble, and ready with the sarcastic one-liners in any given situation. He was also the on-again-off-again boyfriend of Maria Deluca, because the two just couldn’t stay away from each other.
Brendan Fehr seemed perfectly cast in the role of the group’s resident bad boy, but he’s a family man in real life. His roles since Roswell have included a variety of characters, likely to avoid any typecasting as the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. He recurred on Bones as the brother to David Boreanaz’s character, made a small appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy as a member of the Nova Corps, and has been steadily working on other television shows the last few years.
You can currently catch him as a lead in The Night Shift and guest starring in Better Call Saul.
3 Majandra Delfino (Maria)
Quite possibly the most emotional character on the series, Maria Deluca, played by Majandra Delfino, became a fan favorite over the course of three seasons. She changed from a New Age flake in season one to a put-together young woman attempting to jump start a music career in season three, but fans loved her throughout all of her ventures.
Likewise, Delfino released a few albums herself, but her career has also gone through some changes. She did a few small roles in movies before returning to television in sitcoms. She hasn’t had much luck there, as both of her starring vehicles were canceled.
Since the cancellation of her last series, Delfino has been looking to get her own projects made. In fact, she and former onscreen love interest Brendan Fehr reunited to pitch a new sci-fi series, Baron and Toluca, which sees the two as former costars (and lovers) who find themselves having to save the world. They pitched the series to Netflix, though it hasn’t been picked up, despite fervent fan campaigns. Having not been picked up on any platform, Delfino and Behr brought the project to Indie Vue for a live streaming session and Q&A on May 15 so fans could see what the show is all about.
2 Jason Behr (Max)
The role of Max was one of Jason Behr’s first big acting roles - and he was the romantic lead of the show! Max had grown up as a loner in Roswell, hanging out with his best friend Michael and his sister Isabel rather than letting anyone else in. While he loved his adopted parents, he was also keenly aware that he wasn’t human, and he kept his secret until the day he witnessed Liz get shot by arguing customers at the Crashdown. Over the course of the series, Max was stalked and kidnapped by a secret government group, negotiated with representatives from other alien nations, got another alien-human hybrid pregnant, and got arrested for armed robbery. He definitely had one eventful high school experience.
Despite the popularity of his work in Roswell, Behr didn’t exactly break into the movie business. He starred in a few horror movies, including the very successful film The Grudge, but didn’t land the kind of audience Roswell fans might have expected with his previous efforts. He eventually returned to television and appeared in two seasons of Breakout Kings, but he hasn’t been seen on screen since 2012.
Behr did make a rare public appearance at the ATX Festival in 2014 for the 15th anniversary of Roswell’s premiere, where he and several other cast members recounted their experience making the show for the fans in attendance.
1 Shiri Appleby (Liz)
The first thing audiences heard when they tuned into the pilot episode of Roswell was Shiri Appleby’s voice as told them, “I’m Liz Parker, and five days ago, I died.” It was Liz being shot in her family owned diner (and Max saving her life) that kicked off the events of the series. Though Appleby had a few roles under her belt when she was tapped for the role, she wasn’t as experienced as most of her cast mates, and much of the responsibility of selling the show rested on her shoulders. Lucky for Appleby, audiences loved her as she fell for Max Evans and fought to keep his secret from everyone around her. The final moments of the show featured her marrying Max and narrating another journal entry, this one directed to her parents, explaining all of the secrets that she'd kept.
Since Roswell, much of Appleby’s career has been hit or miss. In addition to made for TV movies and guest spots in several series, she also led the cast of Life UneXpected for two seasons before it was canceled. She’s finally found her groove as one of the leads of the Lifetime series UnREAL, a series about the behind the scenes goings-on of a reality dating series. She plays the manipulative and emotionally unstable Rachel, but she has also stepped behind the camera to direct on more than one occasion.
Appleby also has completed work on the drama Lemon , which should release in late 2017.
Now that you’ve got an idea of where the formal Roswell residents have gone, you can enjoy all of their upcoming projects. Whose are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!
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