ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

Starship Troopers was just about the coolest thing imaginable to a boy in his early teens. It had absolutely everything I was looking for: gory violence, giant alien bugs, Denise Richards, and lots and lots of guns. 18 years later, watching Rico and the Roughnecks nuke some bug holes is still just as awesome as ever!

But what have the citizens of the Federation been up to since the Klendathu wars? The cast have all come a long way since 1997, and you might be surprised to see just how much they've changed!

Johnny Rico - Casper Van Dien

Age then: 28

Age now: 46

In case you'd forgotten, Johnny Rico is from Buenos Aires and he says 'kill em all!' Played by the rather hunky Casper Van Dien, the meathead marine proved to be an exceptionally proficient bug-killer. But what has Van Dien been up to since?

Well, he's perhaps most famous for starring in Tim Burton's 1999 film Sleepy Hollow as Johnny Depp's romantic rival, Brom von Brunt. But Casper couldn't resist returning to the franchise that made him famous, reprising his role in Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, a direct-to-video sequel. The Federation just couldn't survive without its hero!

Dizzy Flores - Dina Meyer

Age then: 28

Age now: 46

Rico's no-nonsense love interest, played by Dina Meyer, was as tough as they come, holding her own amongst the male-dominated Roughneck squad. After she was done breaking stereotypes and kicking ass, Meyer decided to switch species, playing the Romulan Commander Donatra in 2002's Star Trek Nemesis.

More recently she's better known for hunting down Jigsaw as Detective Allison Kerry in the Saw franchise, before her ribcage was ripped wide open in the third film.

Lt. Carmen Ibanez - Denise Richards

Age then: 26

Age now: 44

The actress/fashion model Denise Richards was one of my all time great crushes of the '90s, until she got all scary-looking. Her career shortly peaked after Starship Troopers, nabbing a role as a Bond girl in The World Is Not Enough. Unfortunately, she picked up a Razzie for her performance and since then mostly turned to filling guest spots on popular TV shows such as Friends, Two and a Half Men and 30 Rock.

Richards has two daughters with her ex-husband, Charlie Sheen.

Carl Jenkins - Neil Patrick Harris

Age then: 24

Age now: 42

This multi-talented performer has probably had the most successful career out of all the troopers. Neil Patrick Harris, or NPH as he's often dubbed, went on to play a hilarious version of himself in Danny Leiner's stoner-comedy, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

But most people know him as the smooth-talking Barney Stinson from CBS' hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The role netted him an Emmy nomination every year between 2007 and 2010!

Harris publicly came out in 2006 and is now married to fellow actor David Burtka.

Ace Levy - Jake Busey

Age then: 26

Age now: 44

Ace Levy, the cocky back-chatting marine, was responsible for provoking my all time favorite line in Starship Troopers. Questioning the necessity of knife training when you can fire a nuke by simply pressing a button, his commanding officer demonstrates his counter-point by throwing a knife through Levy's hand, telling him - quite righty - that "the enemy cannot push the button if you disable his hand." Brilliant.

The son of Hollywood's favorite oddball, Gary Busey, also starred opposite Jodie Foster in Contact, released in the same year as Starship Troopers. You can now watch him in Robert Rodriguez's TV adaptation of the classic cult horror flick, From Dusk Till Dawn.

Sugar Watkins - Seth Gilliam

Age then: 29

Age now: 47

You might recognize Gilliam from HBO's critically acclaimed TV drama The Wire as police detective Ellis Carver. He's also a Season 5 regular in The Walking Dead, playing Father Gabriel Stokes.

Seth has said in interviews that he actually prefers acting on the stage to the screen, and took on the role of Shakespeare's classic tragic hero Othello in a 2010 production.

Jean Rasczak - Michael Ironside

Age then: 47

Age now: 65

The total badass that is Michael Ironside played the grizzled army vet, Jean Rasczak, perfectly, making sure to cover his inferiors in saliva during every one of his motivational speeches. Ironside has had a lengthy career since then, starring alongside Christian Bale in The Machinist and Terminator Salvation.

Most impressively though, the 65-year-old actor has fought and survived cancer twice. Nothing brings the mighty Rasczak down.


Who's your favorite trooper?


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