To celebrate Alien's 40th anniversary in 2019, 20th Century Fox has launched a short film competition for fans. Alien became an instant classic upon release in 1979 thanks to Ridley Scott's taut direction, H.R Giger's art design, and the amazing cast, including Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. James Cameron's Aliens followed in 1986, tilting the genre from horror to action, and one that expanded the mythology while delivering great set pieces, characters, and dialogue.
The sequels since then have nearly all been met with mixed responses; the relentlessly bleak Alien 3 is divisive to this day, Resurrection is considered a silly mess, the Alien Vs Predator movies are often ignored by fans, and Ridley Scott's prequels – Prometheus and Alien: Covenant – widened the universe but suffered from messy stories. While the franchise still produces plenty of spinoffs in the form of video games, comics, and books, it appears the movie series is currently on hold following Covenant's underwhelming box-office.
The original Alien celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2019, and to commemorate the day, 20th Century Fox has announced a new competition that will allow six fans to make a five to nine-minute long short film set in the universe, and there's up to $246,000 in prizes on offer. The competition is in association with Tongal and is open to fans from the U.S. only. Anyone tempted by the competition better put their thinking caps on too; the deadline for the initial pitch is July 3.
In celebration of the upcoming 40th anniversary, @20thcenturyfox is inviting fans through the @tongal community to create their own #ALIEN short films. Learn more at https://t.co/ETyR8EcKSG pic.twitter.com/6xutfB6Q2z— Alien (@AlienAnthology) June 27, 2018
The Tongal site lists plenty of rules around the competition too, such as filmmakers not being allowed to use pre-existing characters or events from the Alien universe. The short is also expected to be in the style of the original, so intense and catastrophic. There are even some scenario ideas on the site, including "Space crew discovers the body of a Facehugged victim outside their ship" and "A small child is stalked by a Facehugger searching for a host."
There will no doubt be lots of other events to celebrate the Alien anniversary, but for now, this is a chance for some lucky fans to show off their love for the series. The fanbase has been quite divided over the current direction of the series, which has focused less on the beast itself and more on Michael Fassbender's crazed A.I. David. Covenant even seemed to imply David himself created the Xenomorph, and while the movie ended on a massive cliffhanger, it seems Fox is reluctant to commit to another Alien installment of his story, despite Ridley Scott's intriguing pitch for the next chapter.
Alien fans also mourned the cancellation of Neill Blomkamp's proposed Alien 5, which would have ignored the events of 3 and Resurrection, and brought back Ripley, Hicks, and Newt. Fox seemed keen on the concept for awhile before putting it on ice and Blomkamp has since admitted to having moved on from the project.