Alien 40th shorts

Alien 40th anniversary shorts promotional logo.

The Alien 40th anniversary short films are a series of fan-made short films created in association with 20th Century Fox and Tongal to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Alien.

A total of six short films have been produced — Alien: Containment, Alien: Specimen, Alien: Night Shift, Alien: Ore, Alien: Harvest and Alien: Alone — each created by the winners of a competition run by Tongal to select the six best fan pitches for the project. The films were made available through IGN, with the shorts releasing weekly from March 29, 2019.[1]

Alien: Containment

Alien Containment

Alien: Containment promotional image.

Alien: Containment follows four survivors who have escaped the destruction of their ship in a shuttle, only to learn that one of them may be harboring a Chestburster. It was written and directed by Chris Reading.

The short film was released on March 29, 2019.[2]


Moments before the colonial transport Borrowdale breaks up and explodes, a shuttle escapes from the vessel carrying four survivors. Having safely escaped their ship's destruction, the shuttle's pilot, Ward, tends to the injured members of the crew — Mills remains unconscious and unresponsive on a medical gurney, but Nass wakes in a panic. Ward calms him and asks if he knows what happened aboard the Borrowdale, but he responds that he was knocked out during the incident and remembers little other than waking up on the escape deck, although he fearfully refers to creatures that he saw on board. The fourth survivor, Albrecht, a member of the Borrowdale's science crew, informs them that there was an outbreak aboard the ship and that there is a chance one or more of them may have been infected by the organisms responsible, which possess a "unique replication cycle".

Ward demands that Albrecht check the comatose Mills to see if he is contaminated. As she works, an increasingly agitated Nass accuses her and her team of being responsible for the loss of their ship and crew, and Albrecht admits that her people destroyed the Borrowdale in an attempt to stop the outbreak spreading. Nass becomes convinced that Mills is carrying the infection and pulls his knife, intending to kill him to remove the threat he poses to the rest of the survivors. Ward attempts to defuse the situation, but Nass grabs her by the throat and tells her that if she had seen what he saw, she wouldn't be trying to stop him. He throws her aside and approaches Mills, but hesitates before killing him. Nass then starts choking, collapses to the floor and begins convulsing violently, coughing up blood — he is carrying the infection himself.

Ward goes to his aid, but when she implores Albrecht help her, the science officer instead backs out of the room and seals the hatch. Watching in horror as the Chestburster] tears its way out of Nass, Ward begs Albrecht to open the door, but she refuses, pointing out that they need to keep the creature contained. However, an impact on the shuttle's outer hull causes her to stumble and accidentally release the hatch. Ward overhears a radio transmission that reveals the source of the sudden jolt — they have been found by another ship and are being brought in for docking. With the newly born Chestburster scurrying around beneath the seats in the cabin, Ward climbs across to the door and escapes into the corridor; Albrecht, still sprawled on the floor and blocking the hatch from closing again, is attacked and mauled to death by the infant Xenomorph. Reaching the shuttle's outer hatch, Ward finds herself with nowhere to go. Glancing back at the Chestburster tearing into Albrecht's corpse, she resignedly scrawls "DO NOT OPEN" on the window in Nass' blood as the shuttle is brought aboard by the rescue vessel.

In a post-credits scene, the unconscious Mills finally wakes aboard the shuttle, only to discover the grisly horror on board with him. He clutches his oxygen mask to his face, lays back down on the gurney and shuts his eyes.


Alien: Specimen

Alien Specimen

Alien: Specimen promotional image.

Alien: Specimen centres on a colony botanist named Julie who becomes trapped in the facility where she works with a lone Facehugger, her only protection being the colony's guard dog. It was directed by Kelsey Taylor and written by Federico Fracchia.

The short film was released on April 5, 2019.[2]


In a remote greenhouse facility on planet LV-492, botanist Julie works the night shift alone, with only the outpost's dog, Maggie, for company. Discovering an unexpected shipment of soil, she radios her colleague Dev and expresses suspicion, pointing out that Maggie has taken an unusual interest in the containers. Despite finding no record of any soil samples being delivered, Dev dismisses Julie's concerns and tells her to get back to work. Donning her headphones so she can listen to her music, Julie wraps the mystery containers to prevent any potential contaminants leaking before going about the rest of her duties.

Later that night, Julie notices one of the barrels of soil has tipped over and now lies open; removing her headphones, she discovers the facility's containment alarm is ringing, but she is unable to reach the door before it seals, trapping her inside. She attempts to call Dev to have him override the lockdown, but the primary power fails, rendering the radio useless and leaving the area only dimly lit by emergency lighting. Hearing Maggie whimpering nearby, she goes to check on the dog; as she searches, she slips in a viscous slime on the greenhouse floor, discovering a trail leading back to the overturned barrel. Investigating further, she finds the source of the slime is an open, egg-like object hidden within the soil.

The radio returns to life long enough for Dev to inform Julie that he intends to reboot the facility's power in an attempt to lift the lockdown, and before she can tell him to wait the area plunges into total darkness. Recovering a flashlight, Julie realises there is a small, scurrying creature loose in the greenhouse with her. She desperately begins trying to prize open the access door with a trowel, hearing the sounds of Maggie scuffling with the organism in the darkness. Her efforts on the door quickly prove fruitless, and with Maggie's growls turning to pained yelps, Julie arms herself with a shovel and goes in search of the dog. She soon locates her amidst the plants, apparently unharmed, at which point Maggie's anxious barking alerts her to the Facehugger hiding in the ceiling above. Julie barely manages to bat the leaping creature away with the shovel, at which point Maggie sets upon it and disappears once more into the gloom.

As Julie follows their trail the power and lighting come back online, and she eventually finds the Facehugger lying wounded on the floor. Before it can recover she cuts it in half with the shovel. Nearby lies the twitching body of Maggie, the skin torn from her face, revealing her to be a synthetic. Dev arrives on the scene and asks what happened, to which Julie emotionally responds, "Maggie did her job." She thanks the damaged android for saving her before plunging the shovel into her body, destroying her.


Alien: Night Shift

Alien Night Shift

Alien: Night Shift promotional image.

Alien: Night Shift takes place on an extrasolar colony, where four unrelated individuals find themselves at the forefront of a Xenomorph outbreak. It was written and directed by Aidan Michael Brezonick.

The short film was released on April 12, 2019.[2]


At the mining colony of High Lonesome on LV-422, supply ship crewmember Welles finds his buddy Harper slumped in a back street, apparently hungover and having skipped work for the day. Suggesting another drink might help him feel better, Welles helps Harper to his feet and the two men go in search of liquor. As they walk away, they fail to notice the dead Facehugger lying in the shadows nearby.

Across the colony, residents Rolly and Springer are preparing to close down the settlement's storeroom for the night when Welles and Harper arrive and ask to be let in. Welles claims his superiors have given him permission to acquire alcohol for their return journey now that their vessel has finished offloading supplies. Although he remains dubious of Welles' story, Springer lets the two men in. As Welles looks through the manifest and places his order, Harper begins feeling unwell. Asking if the lockup has a toilet, Springer takes him out back to show him where it is and unlock the door, and while they are gone Rolly spots Welles stealing a can of beer from the storeroom. Despite her anger she does not challenge him, instead inquiring whether there are any spaces on his ship so that she can leave LV-422. However, when he responds suggestively that she could bunk with him, she tells him to fuck off.

Her aggressive reply is overheard by the returning Springer, who berates her for insulting a guest at the colony. In response, Rolly alerts Springer to Welles' theft. At that moment, Harper staggers back into the room, clutching at his gut and complaining of something moving inside him. When he collapses and begins frothing at the mouth, Rolly rushes to find a medkit in a back room while Welles and Springer go to help the stricken man. They lift Harper's shirt and spot something moving beneath the skin of his stomach, which promptly tears through and reveals itself to be a Chestburster.

Just as she locates a medkit, Rolly is alerted by the sound of gunshots. Rushing back to the front room, she discovers that a shocked Welles has accidentally shot Springer in the neck in his desperation to kill the emerging Chestburster. Rolly goes to her colleague's aid as Welles spots the creature again and continues firing wildly, this time hitting an electrical conduit and shorting out the lights in the storeroom. Weighing up his options, Welles flees the scene, but Rolly rejects his suggestion that she abandon Springer and save herself. Despite her efforts, Springer dies in her arms, and a hardened Rolly chooses to seal the storeroom door and face the infant Xenomorph, arming herself with a baseball bat.

As she hunts for the Chestburster between the racks and shelves of supplies, it rushes at her from the shadows. She manages to get the drop on it and batters the small creature to death. However, her repeated beating of the Xenomorph's corpse is interrupted by the colony's alarm, over which she can hear the sounds of screaming and gunfire. As the cacophony draws nearer, she also hears the screams of injured Xenomorph Warriors.


Alien: Ore

Alien Ore

Alien: Ore promotional image.

Alien: Ore follows a group of miners at the colony of Bowen's Landing who encounter a deadly Xenomorph thousands of feet below the surface in the mine where they work. It was written and directed by Kailey Spear and Sam Spear.

The short film was released on April 19, 2019.[2]


Sometime around the year 2122,[3] deep below the mining colony of Bowen's Landing, worker Kolton searches the mine shafts for his colleague Al, who has gone missing. Finding his body in the darkness, Kolton rushes to alert others.

On the surface, the next shift arrives at the mine-head. As they gear up, a miner named Clark voices his concern regarding rumours that Weyland-Yutani intends to close the colony down due to falling returns, while others congratulate their colleague Lorraine over the impending birth of her second grandchild. The miners clock in and board the lift down into the main shaft, watched over by synthetic supervisor Hanks in the control room. As they begin their descent, Lorraine eagerly asks Hanks if the new seam they are hoping to break into has been found yet, but she responds in the negative.

Reaching the gallery, Lorraine briefly reunites with her daughter Anna before she and the rest of the previous shift head back to the surface. As the new arrivals prepare to go to work, a shaken Kolton arrives and informs them that he has found Al, but cannot bring himself describe what he saw and simply implores the others to come and see for themselves. Lorraine grabs a portable camera unit from a nearby locker so that Hanks can watch their progress before she and several other miners follow Kolton back to Al's body. Reaching his corpse, the miners are shocked to find his chest ripped open, as though something has torn its way out from within. Continuing to search the area, they discover several large, egg-shaped objects that have apparently been dug from the rock face nearby, one of which sits open at the top. Concluding that whatever killed Al likely came from the egg, Lorraine grabs a mining tool and prepares to destroy them, but Hanks advises caution and instead suggests they evacuate the area while she notifies the company. As the miners prepare to collect up Al's body, Hanks sends a transmission to Weyland-Yutani before locking the control room door.

Before the miners can leave the scene of Al's death, Clark is violently killed by something hiding in the shadows. As the rest of the group flees, the lights fail and another miner named Winni is slain by the creature as she tries to fight it off with an axe. In the control room, Hanks silently watches the camera feed with a mixture of horror and awe; unknown to the miners, it is she who has deactivated the lights in the mine. Despite her interference, the survivors make it back to the lift and begin their ascent, although almost immediately Lorraine stops the lift. Ignoring the horrified complaints from the other miners, she calmly explains that the creature is currently contained in the mine, but that if they return to the surface, there is a good chance it will follow them and escape into the colony — where their families live. Refusing to allow that to happen, she plainly states her intention to return and kill it. Hanks attempts to dissuade her with the promise of a finders bonus if she leaves the creature alive so that it can be recovered by the company, revealing her true allegiance to the stunned miners. Furious, Lorraine destroys the portable camera, rendering the synthetic blind to events in the mine. In the control room, Hanks stares blankly at the now disabled video feed, while an adjacent monitor flashes with a message from Weyland-Yutani instructing her to ensure the survival of the creature.

Lorraine returns alone to the mine shaft, arming herself with a rock drill. The creature soon appears before her, lurking in the shadows. As she prepares to face it, the rest of the miners gather around her, having decided they cannot let her fight the beast alone. They heft the mining tools with which they are armed before the creature lunges at them out of the gloom.


Alien: Harvest

Alien Harvest

Alien: Harvest promotional image.

Alien: Harvest follows four survivors as they desperately attempt to escape their crippled vessel, which is locked on a collision course with a comet. However, they must also contend with the Xenomorph that is loose on board. It was directed by Benjamin Howdeshell and written by Craig Dewey.

The short film was released on April 26, 2019,[2] as part of Alien Day.


The USCSS November, a deep space plasma harvesting vessel, drifts on a collision course with the comet that it was attempting to harvest, its navigation systems inoperable and its destruction assured. Aboard, the four surviving crewmembers are making for the ship's escape pods, their only chance of survival. However, a fully-grown Xenomorph is also loose on the vessel, and the only tool the survivors possess to help them evade it is a malfunctioning motion tracker with which Mari is attempting to steer them on a safe course through the ship's darkened corridors.

Concerned that Mari is reading the tracker incorrectly, Sturgis impatiently seizes the device from her and, having determined an apparently safe route, takes off. Mari stops Alec and his heavily pregnant partner Hannah from following; Sturgis soon encounters the Xenomorph and is slain by the creature. Realizing they will likely need the motion sensor to safely escape the ship, Hannah ignores Alec's pleas and goes to recover it. When she reaches Sturgis' corpse, the Xenomorph is gone and she successfully returns to the group with the tracking device. She hands it back to Mari, who reassures Hannah and Alec that Weyland-Yutani are already aware of the November's situation and are on their way to rescue them, if they can just get to the escape pods.

Progressing through the ship under Mari's leadership, Alec realizes to his despair that they have been travelling in circles. He is then attacked by the Xenomorph, which attempts to drag him into a ventilation duct. Mari and Hannah come to his aid, Hannah fighting the creature off with an axe; while it releases Alec and disappears, some of its acid blood spills on his face, seriously burning his flesh. The two women help him to his feet and carry him to the escape pods, but discover that one of the ship's two EEVs is inoperative, meaning there is only room for two people to escape. Given his injuries, Alec tells Hannah to leave him behind, but Mari is able to override the pod's safety parameters so that it will launch with more than its designated compliment aboard. She helps Alec and Hannah to their seats and straps them in.

As they prepare to eject, Hannah is alerted by a containment warning announcement. Before she can react, Alec is attacked in his seat by a Facehugger, while Mari watches with satisfaction from the open hatch. As Hannah looks on in horror, the adult Xenomorph appears behind Mari and impales her on its tail, revealing her to be a synthetic. As a second Xenomorph Egg aboard the pod opens and begins disgorging the Facehugger within, the EEV's hatch seals, trapping a screaming Hannah within.

The pod is jettisoned moments before the November impacts the comet and explodes. As the EEV drifts away from the blast, it plots a course to rendezvous with a Weyland-Yutani probe and sends an automated transmission confirming the presence of alien specimens on board.


Alien: Alone

Alien Alone

Alien: Alone promotional image.

Alien: Alone focuses on Hope, a synthetic left behind when her ship was abandoned by its crew, who discovers a live Xenomorph specimen aboard and develops a deep — and possibly deadly — fascination with the creature. It was written and directed by Noah Miller, and features James Paxton, son of Aliens actor Bill Paxton, in a starring role.[4] Clocking in at a length of 12 minutes, it is the longest of all six shorts, seemingly exceeding the maximum length set for the contest.

The short film was released on April 26, 2019,[2] as part of Alien Day.


When the crew of the commercial transport vessel Otranto abandoned ship in response to a chemical leak, synthetic Hope was left behind and has now been drifting alone for more than a year. She passes the time making what limited repairs she can to the damaged vessel, or engaging in mundane tasks such as drawing, reading or counting the rivets on the Otranto's bulkheads. Despite her efforts to maintain the ship, she realises it will eventually deteriorate beyond her capability to repair and break up, dooming her. She clings to the knowledge that her captain promised before he evacuated that someone would eventually return to rescue her.

Although she has free rein over most of the vessel, the Otranto's computer, Mother, continues to refuse Hope access to laboratory B-11a, a fact that the android considers unfair given that she is the last person remaining on board. When an electrical fire breaks out on the ship's bridge, Mother's circuits are damaged, and with the computer no longer functional Hope realizes there is now nothing to stop her accessing lab B-11a. She cuts her way inside and discovers several biological specimens stored within, all but one of which have perished. She revives the surviving specimen, a Facehugger, which immediately attempts to impregnate her. It quickly determines that she is not organic and therefore incapable of serving as host for a Chestburster, and so the Facehugger detaches and disappears into the ship's ventilation system.

Over the following days and weeks, Hope begins to study the creature, which is seemingly unaffected by the toxic chemicals that have contaminated the Otranto. She comes to view the Facehugger as a companion of sorts, while the creature itself shows little interest in her beyond being drawn to her movements on the chance she represents a compatible host. However, over time, both Hope and the Facehugger begin exhibiting signs of deterioration — Hope because her mechanical components are breaking down, the Facehugger because it is exceeding its intended natural lifespan. Saddened by her companion's impending death, Hope conducts hasty, improvised repairs to the Otranto that allow her to move the ship towards populated space, hoping that they will be picked up before they both die.

The decrepit ship survives the manoeuvre and is found by Macwhirr, who docks with it and comes aboard. Hope almost immediately overpowers him and assists the Facehugger in subduing him. Macwhirr awakes with no memory of the attack, but finds he is locked in a store room on the Otranto. Hope appears outside the door and he asks her to release him, but she refuses, suggesting instead that he accept his impending death as she has. Machwirr is then killed when the Chestburster inside him emerges.

Later, while Hope is mourning over the body of the deceased Facehugger, she is approached by Machwirr's offspring — a fully-grown Xenomorph Drone. She gazes up at the creature as it looms over her.



In association with 20th Century Fox, Tongal launched a competition to select the creators of the anniversary short films on June 27, 2018, offering almost $250,000 in prizes to the winners.[5] Applicants were asked to create "a wholly original story with completely new characters" that nevertheless drew upon the aspects that made the Alien franchise so successful, to be turned into a five- to nine-minute short science-fiction horror film.[6] Each short had to feature working class, blue collar characters and feature at least one form of the Xenomorph's life cycle.[7] In particular, applicants were asked to draw upon the original film Alien for inspiration.[8] More than 550 submissions were received as part of the contest, more than any other production project on Tongal at that time.[9]

From those who applied, Tongal drew up a shortlist of 18 potential shorts whose creators then had to pitch their idea to the studio.[6] Six winning creators were then selected and each was given a budget of $35,000 with which to realize their production.[9] As well as their film, each winning applicant also had to provide a series of trailers and images that could be used to promote their short.


Four of the winning short films premiered at the 2019 Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle, Washington,[10] before all six shorts received a wider release through IGN's website and YouTube channel (much like Alien: Isolation - The Digital Series); Alien: Containment was made available on March 29 and the remaining shorts were released weekly following this, with the final the two going live on April 26, 2019, as part of Alien Day.[2] On May 5, all six shorts were made available through the official Alien Universe website, along with exclusive behind the scenes content.[1]


  • The crew of Alien: Containment did not originally plan to include the darkly humorous post-credits scene in which Mills wakes alone aboard the shuttle to find he is trapped with the growing Xenomorph, feeling 20th Century Fox would not approve. However, when they suggested it as an option during post-production, they found that Fox loved the idea.[11]
  • Rather than develop a script herself, Alien: Specimen's director Kelsey Taylor became aware of Tongal's project so close to the submission deadline that she instead reached out to other Tongal users who were unable to enter the contest as a result of living outside the United States and asked if they would be willing to let her direct their story.[12] She received four proposals in response (actually submitting all four) and Fox and Tongal ultimately selected Federico Fracchia's greenhouse concept.[7]
  • During development, Alien: Specimen was known as Alien: The Green House Effect.[13]
  • Alien: Specimen underwent several changes during development:
    • The greenhouse itself was initially conceived as a high-tech, laboratory-like facility similar to the lab where the Facehuggers are encountered in Aliens. However, when the crew lost the planned filming location, they changed to a more industrial, utilitarian look.[7]
    • Maggie was to be a French bulldog, the intention being she was a simple companion for Julie rather than a working dog. However, Fox suggested she be changed to a guard dog and thus she became a doberman, which Taylor noted was a better fit for the new industrial look of the greenhouse itself.[7]
    • The twist that Maggie is actually a synthetic was added late in Alien: Specimen's development,[12] while the short originally concluded with Julie falling victim to the Facehugger, her superiors discovering her body once power is restored. However, Taylor decided that she wanted Julie to survive, and thus the synthetic dog was devised as a means to defeat the Facehugger and allow Julie to live.[7]
  • The Facehugger in Alien: Specimen was to be portrayed with a practical prop throughout, but when director Kelsey Taylor was unsatisfied with the results in several shots, she turned to friend (and the film's gaffer) Luc Delamare who provided the CGI visual effects for the creature.[12]
  • Director Taylor viewed Alien: Specimen as "an early scene from a greater story and the beginning of an adventure that takes [Julie and Dev] outside the greenhouse and leads them to a dark truth about their mission".[12] The envisaged continuation would see Julie and Dev fleeing into LV-492's dense native jungle after the greenhouse facility becomes overrun by Xenomorphs, and would also reveal whether the Egg found in the soil sample was accidentally scooped up or placed there intentionally.[7]
  • Alien: Alone director Noah Miller has stated that his film originally ran for around 20 minutes and has expressed interest in releasing an extended cut.[14]



Alien 40th Anniversary Shorts Official Teaser ALIEN ANTHOLOGY-0

Alien 40th Anniversary Shorts Official Teaser ALIEN ANTHOLOGY-0


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Hollywood Reporter - 'Alien' Celebrating 40th Anniversary With 6 Short Films". Retrieved on 2019-03-13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "AVPGalaxy - Fox Shares Release Order & Red Band Trailer for Alien: 40th Anniversary Shorts!". Retrieved on 2019-03-28.
  3. "Twitter - Alien". Retrieved on 2019-05-19.
  4. "Twitter - James Paxton". Retrieved on 2019-03-14.
  5. "AVPGalaxy - 20th Century Fox & Tongal Announce Alien Short Film Contest!". Retrieved on 2019-03-13.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Tongal - Alien 40th Anniversary Shorts Project". Retrieved on 2019-03-13.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 "AVPGalaxy - Kelsey Taylor (Director of Alien: Specimen, Alien 40th Anniversary Short) Interview". Retrieved on 2019-09-11.
  8. "Studio Yutani - Creatives: Kelsey Taylor, Director of Alien: Specimen". Retrieved on 2019-09-11.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Tongal - Creator Interview: Director Chris Reading on the Making of Alien: Containment". Retrieved on 2019-09-11.
  10. "Twitter - Alien". Retrieved on 2019-03-15.
  11. "Tongal - Creator Interview: Director Chris Reading on the Making of Alien: Containment". Retrieved on 2019-09-11.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "HN Entertainment - EXCLUSIVE: 'Alien: Specimen' Director Kelsey Taylor Talks To Us About Making Her Fantastic 'Alien' Short Film". Retrieved on 2019-09-11.
  13. "Instagram - kelseytaylorhasnoinsta". Retrieved on 2019-09-11.
  14. "AVPGalaxy Forums - Alien: Alone – Alien: 40th Anniversary Short Films". Retrieved on 2019-04-30.
  15. "Instagram - mattsav.concept". Retrieved on 2019-09-11.
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