A brand new official Alien short has been released online. The franchise is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and, while there is no full-length feature being released, which would be ideal, 20th Century Fox has been doing plenty to help honor the occasion. We recently learned that they're releasing a series of six shorts set within the Alien universe and the second installment, Alien: Specimen, has been officially unleashed. It should delight fans of the series who are desperate for some facehugger action.

This short comes from director Kelsey Taylor. Aesthetically, this looks very much in line with the early movies in the franchise. Low-tech yet detailed. We also get a look at some elements that haven't really been explored in the movies before. What are greenhouses like in space? What's it like when someone is working a boring night shift all alone in space? Do facehuggers and dogs get along? Important stuff such as that. Ultimately, what's important is that this really feels at home alongside the Alien movies. There also may or may not be a nice little twisty surprise hidden in there for viewers to enjoy.

Specimen centers on a woman who is working 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. The first of these Alien shorts, Containment, was released online last week. The studio also recently released an animated web series based on the video game Alien: Isolation.

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This all comes as Disney recently completed their merger with Fox. That means it's ultimately Disney who is now in control of the franchise moving forward. While it was a big question mark as to whether or not the Xenomorphs could live on under the Mouse House reign, given that they've historically been a family-friendly company, it was recently confirmed at CinemaCon that the studio intends to make further movies in the franchise. Does that mean Ridley Scott will actually get to make his Alien: Covenant sequel? Does that mean we're going to get a reboot of some sort? It's unclear for the time being, but we're going to see more than these shorts in the future, that much is clear.

One big question is whether or not these shorts are considered canon. Do they truly count? Or are they just for fun? We'll have to wait for someone from the studio to weigh in on that one. The release of these shorts will continue weekly leading up to this year's Alien day, which takes place on April 26. Undoubtedly, Fox/Disney will have some surprises in store for us on the annual holiday of sorts. Be sure to check out the new short film from the IGN YouTube channel below.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott