20 legendary Black science fiction actors who rocked the genre

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Sanaa Lathan

Sanaa Lathan has appeared in a wide variety of movies, from stage magic capers (Now You See Me 2), to romance (Love & Basketball), to prestige drama (Contagion). She’s even provided the voice for Donna Tubbs, eventual wife of Cleveland Brown on The Cleveland Show.

Lathan’s role in the 2004 movie, Alien vs. Predator, established her as a science fiction figure, too. Before you completely dismiss the movie as yet another entry in not one, but two sprawling and occasionally very bloated sci-fi series, take a step back. Sure, it hasn’t received rave reviews over the years, but Lathan’s work on the film might be enough for at least one viewing.

In Alien vs. Predator, Lathan plays guide Alexa “Lex” Woods. Lex is leading a group of archaeologists, linguists, engineers, and mercenaries to a remote island off the coast of Antarctica. The team is investigating a mysterious heat signature that revealed a massive pyramid buried beneath the ice on the island.

The team eventually makes their way to the pyramid, revealing evidence of a prehistoric civilization and also a whole bunch of mutilated human skeletons, generally with telltale burst rib cages. Perhaps not the best decision for Lex, but it makes for a spooky narrative turn for the audience.

Eventually, it becomes clear that the humans are caught between a conflict involving both the creepy Predator species and the even-creepier (somehow) Xenomorphs seen in the Alien films. The Predators are busy hunting the Xenomorphs as a rite of passage, but they have no qualms in exterminating any humans who get in the way.

It shouldn’t come as much of a spoiler that almost everyone perishes in bloody fashion over the course of the movie. That is, except for Lex. She is so tough that even the Predators are impressed, to the point where they give her a cool ceremonial scar and an alien spear weapon. Lex remains one of the very few individuals who have not only survived an encounter with either Predators or Xenomorphs (not to mention both), but to emerge on top, too.