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New 'Alien' shorts will begin to burst forth in honor of franchise's 40th birthday

By Josh Weiss
Alien Chestburster scene

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Alien franchise, 20th Century Fox partnered with the creative-oriented company Tongal to produce six short films inspired by the sci-fi/horror series; 550 pitches from filmmakers were initially received. Four of the six movies are set to premiere at Emerald City Comic Con, which begins this week in Seattle, Washington.

The descriptions of each short (and the overall teaser trailer) can be seen below:

Alien: Alone — Hope, an abandoned crew member aboard the derelict chemical hauler Otranto, has spent a year trying to keep her ship and herself alive as both slowly fall apart. After discovering hidden cargo, she risks it all to power up the broken ship in search of human life. Written and directed by Noah Miller.

Alien: Containment — Four survivors find themselves stranded aboard a small escape pod in deep space. Trying to piece together the details around the outbreak that led to their ship’s destruction, they find themselves unsure to trust whether one of them might be infected. Written and directed by Chris Reading.

Alien: Harvest — The surviving crew of a damaged deep-space harvester have minutes to reach the emergency evacuation shuttle. A motion sensor is their only navigation tool leading them to safety while a creature in the shadows terrorizes the crew. However, the greatest threat might have been hiding in plain sight all along. Directed by Benjamin Howdeshell.

Alien: Night Shift — When a missing space trucker is discovered hungover and disoriented, his co-worker suggests a nightcap as a remedy. Near closing time, they are reluctantly allowed inside the colony supply depot where the trucker’s condition worsens, leaving a young supply worker alone to take matters into her own hands.  Written and directed by Aidan Breznick.

Alien: Ore — As a hard-working miner of a planet mining colony, Lorraine longs to make a better life for her daughter and grandchildren. When her shift uncovers the death of a fellow miner under mysterious circumstances, Lorraine is forced to choose between escape or defying management orders and facing her fears to fight for the safety of her family. Written and directed by the Spear Sisters.

Alien: Specimen — It’s the night shift in a colony greenhouse, and Julie, a botanist, does her best to contain suspicious soil samples that have triggered her sensitive lab dog. Despite her best efforts the lab unexpectedly goes into full shutdown and she is trapped inside. Little does she know, an Alien specimen has escaped the mysterious cargo, and a game of cat and mouse ensues as the creature searches for a host.  Written and directed by Kelsey Taylor.

The first four shorts are screening this Friday, March 15, at ECCC. A screening will also be held at C2E2 in Chicago on Saturday, March 23, but the final two (helmed by female directors) are being saved for WonderCon in Anaheim on Saturday, March 30.

After most of the films premiere at the various conventions, they are to be released on a weekly basis by IGN starting Friday, March 29. On Friday, May 3, they'll hit and the official @AlienAnthology social media channels along with behind-the-scenes content.

"Our partners at 20th Century Fox took an iconic franchise and handed it over to a new generation of storytellers to make its mark," Tongal Co-Founder and CEO James DeJulio said in an exclusive statement to SYFY WIRE. "And we were all blown away by the results. At Tongal, we're all about connecting up-and-coming filmmakers to opportunity, and they worked passionately to bring this one to life. But I can't say we were surprised because, after all, fans are the ultimate storytellers."

Aliens Alien Queen

Released for the first time ever on May 25, 1979, Alien changed the face of science fiction in cinema while cementing director Ridley Scott as a visionary of the genre. Mainly set aboard a solitary spaceship, the original film revolves around a group of futuristic truckers who are stalked, hunted, and killed by a mysterious alien life form that uses other species in a parasitic process in order to reproduce itself.

An instant success, Alien (described by many as "Jaws in space") spawned an iconic sequel, James Cameron's Aliens, in 1986, and a number of less-than-beloved follow-ups (Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection), prequels (Prometheus, Alien: Covenant), and crossovers (Alien vs. Predator, AvP: Requiem). Nevertheless, the first two films remain golden exemplars of great science fiction as well as great filmmaking.