Still deep in the development process on the untitled Alien sequel, Neill Blomkamp is teasing his plans for both Ripley and the return of another iconic part of the franchise. Thanks to his habit of keeping fans in the loop via social media, we've now got ourselves a decent look at the pulse rifle, something sure to be pointed at a bunch of xenomorph creeps.
The M41A pulse rifle is the weapon of choice for the 'grunts' in Aliens, in particular for Corporal Dwayne Hicks. The marine keeps it handy for "close encounters" and later teaches Ripley how to use it, a lesson she embraces whole-heartedly when she torches the queen's nest with its flamethrower.
For Blomkamp's version, the Marines' weapon (and indeed the signature weapon of the series) has undergone a few modifications:
The changes are subtle - the caption references "RIS." The relevant wikipedia entry has probably witnessed a spike in pageviews over the last 24 hours, explaining that "RIS" stands for rail interface system. This essentially means the gun can be customized, as demonstrated by the additional rifle sight attached to the main barrel in Blomkamp's example.
Alien 5 is preparing to launch in 2017, following in the footsteps of Ridley Scott's Prometheus sequel, Alien: Paradise Lost.