Movie Guns: Director Posts Photo of New M41A Pulse Rifle from "Alien" Sequel

One of the most recognizable fictitious rifles in movie history is coming back to the big screen, and this time, it has rails!

Neill Blomkamp, director of the as yet-untitled "Alien" sequel, posted a photo on Instagram of the new incarnation of the M41A Pulse Rifle, first seen in James Cameron's "Aliens" (1986). Ever since, any futuristic-looking firearm has been compared with it, and many shooters have secretly and openly yearned for a digital round-counter. The components of the future gun in the movie are in fact real, and anything but cutting edge.

The base gun is a M1A1 Thompson Machine Gun with an added housing and mag-well cover, and a telescopic stock. Mounted under the barrel is a pump-action "grenade launcher," which is actually a cut down Remington 870 shotgun with the heat shield and foregrip of a Franchi SPAS-12.

In Blomkamp's photo, it looks as if the barrel area, which was previously lined with vents, now has three rail sections at the 9, 3, and 12-o'clock positions. In the photo we can also see some type of red-dot optic mounted on a small top rail section. The barrel of the rifle portion has a different flash-hider than the original, but otherwise, it looks to be a faithful recreation of the M41A.

Sigourney Weaver in 1986's "Aliens" with the original M41A Pulse Rifle, taped to a flamethrower.

Some people have made their own versions of the M41A. The one in the video below actually works, though it uses a different weapon as a base, starting with the SWD M-11/9 submachine gun instead of a Thompson. The shotgun portion is still a Remington 870, minus the heatshield from the SPAS-12, and the round-counter is fully functional. And, for you cosplayers and skirmish nuts, there is also an airsoft version of the M41A available from Snow Wolf.

In case you can't keep up, and no one could blame you, and there are two new Alien film projects currently in the works. Blomkamp's movie is said to be a direct sequel to Cameron's "Aliens" that would retcon "Alien 3" and "Alien: Resurrection," allowing Sigourney Weaver to reprise her role as Ellen Ripley, along with Michael Biehn as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks. It's still in the pre-production phase, though.

At the same time, Ridley Scott, creator of the original Alien, is working on a sequel to "Prometheus" (2012) called "Alien: Paradise Lost," which will be a direct prequel to his landmark 1979 film, he says. "Prometheus" is set in the same universe as the Alien series, but wasn't intended to be a direct prequel.