Alien Day 2024: 'Alien' bursts back into theaters today

A large alien egg with green light seeping from its cracks
A slice from the official Alien 45th anniversary poster (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Happy Alien Day 2024!

"Alien Day" (April 26) has arrived, that annual occasion for all xenomorph acolytes to immerse themselves in the legends and lore of the storied "Alien" franchise that first hatched way back on May 25, 1979 to create one of the most frightening cinematic universes in Hollywood history. 

Officially promoted by 20th Century Fox beginning in 2016, Alien Day gets its name from the designation numerals of the LV-426 planetoid where "Alien's" space truckers discover a nightmarish derelict spaceship housing a horrifying secret. 

Related: Alien movies in order: chronological and release

Official 45th anniversary "Alien" re-release poster (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Now for a limited time starting April 26, in honor of the 45th anniversary of 'Alien,' multiplex audiences can re-experience the sheer terror in a darkened theater once again, surrounded by petrified fellow patrons to witness the crew of the commercial towing vessel Nostromo being stalked by a marauding biomechanical creature with no conscience and concentrated acid for blood.

Directed by a youthful Ridley Scott from an original screenplay by Dan O’Bannon and Ron Shusett, "Alien's" stellar cast included Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Yaphet Kotto, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, and Ian Holm. Fans attending these special anniversary screenings will also be treated to an engaging conversation between Ridley Scott and Fede Alvarez, the director/writer of this summer's theatrical release, "Alien: Romulus."

In other Alien Day news, an upcoming documentary titled "Aliens Expanded" seeks to crack open the memories behind the making of James Cameron's 1986 "Alien" sequel and we have an exclusive chat with its director, British filmmaker Ian Nathan.

Two posters for new documentary, "Aliens Expanded." (Image credit: CreatorVC)

Here's the official description:

'Join the 'Aliens' cast & crew, including James Cameron (Writer & Director), Gale Anne Hurd (Producer), Michael Biehn (Hicks), Lance Henriksen (Bishop)  Mark Rolston (Drake), Jenette Goldstein (Vasquez), William Hope (Gorman) and Carrie Henn (Newt), on a deep dive into this science-fiction classic. Brimming with stories, insight, and wonderful personal detail, this four-hour documentary is the most passionate and sophisticated exploration of 'Aliens' ever made; a love letter to the people who made it and the communities who adore it, reflecting and enhancing the incredible legacy of this beloved epic."

London-born director Ian Nathan first saw "Aliens" when he was sixteen with his dad, in a hot cinema full to the brim, and he’s still not sure that he’s ever had an equivalent experience. His goal was to create an in-depth exploration of Cameron's iconic film and discover new info and insights along the way with the cast and crew.

"I was enslaved to that film, gripped like a vice," Nathan tells "After the med-lab scene with the facehuggers, right up until the power loader, I had to remind myself to breathe. It was that thrilling. But I have come to understand that so much of that immersion is because James Cameron made me care so much about those characters. Beyond its place as a science fiction great, and a horror great, it is a perfect character piece. And even now, having seen it countless times, if I catch it on the box, I am there to the end, still willing them to survive." 

Having Cameron on board to share never-heard tales of his trials, tribulations, and purity of vision in making "Aliens" was a true masterclass in filmmaking for Nathan. When asked to recall his favorite scene in the 1986 classic, he's quick to respond.

"This is easy. I've known it since the night I first saw the film," he explains. "It's the crucial scene in the film, because this is when Ripley takes charge. Not because she wants to, but because she has to. She is a born leader. The marine incursion into the nest has gone to hell, chaos reigns, and Gorman is cracking up. Ripley is screaming at him. 'Do something!' Then she throws off her headset, secures Newt, and takes control of the APC. The drums kick in on the soundtrack and she rams that thing into the nest to rescue whichever survivors she can. It's Ripley's mission now." 

Fans can order "Aliens Expanded" by May 5 to get their name placed in the credits and score exclusive merchandise, with an expected June digital delivery date and physical copies coming in July.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.