Season 9 begins with a cosmic bang as sixteen new talented artists work in teams of two to construct original alien animals that incorporate two models into one massive creation. This difficult task of fashioning the largest creatures ever seen on Face Off proves to be eye opening and taxing for multiple contestants, and a surprise announcement from the judges keeps everyone on edge.
The artists compete for immunity in a Foundation Challenge based upon a classic Rorschach inkblot test. For their Spotlight Challenge, they pair off and use a unique gateway as inspiration for two makeups-- a Gatekeeper and whatever is behind the gate.
The artists create retro-style aliens for a Foundation Challenge and are then shocked to learn that for their Spotlight Challenge, they must evolve their character into a modern day version of the same alien species.
The seven remaining artists battle for immunity in a barbaric Foundation Challenge judged by Dallas Buyers Club's Oscar-winning makeup artist Robin Matthews. Then it's off to the circus, as they must dazzle the judges with makeups inspired by the freak show.
As the artists draw closer to the finale, they find themselves tackling a Focus Challenge inspired by he Expanse. Contestants are asked to reimagine human evolution in a disastrous future-Earth scenario.
The finalists embark on their journey into the Face Off finale challenge, discovering that they'll be working with a real-life Hollywood director and full production crew to create three stunning short films on location.