The classic Steven Spielberg film E.T. stars a 9-year-old Thomas as Elliott, a boy who forms a powerful bond with an alien stranded on earth. The film was the highest-grossing movie of all time in 1982 (before Spielberg’s own Jurassic Park usurped it in 1993).
Thanksgiving 2019 marked nearly 40 years since E.T. said goodbye to his family. The character returned in a “Home for the Holidays” commercial from Comcast Xfinity that year.
The 4-minute advert depicts an adult Elliott in a technologically advanced present (thanks to that first encounter) where he now has a family, but is still fond of his alien friend and rides his bike.
The ad was viewed by many as a teaser for an E.T. sequel. While it wasn’t, some still wonder if such a concept could be explored in the future.
Elliott Actor Henry Thomas explains why a sequel to Steven Spielberg’s classic E.T. will likely never happen.
Thomas, who is now 50, spoke with ComicBook.com about successful sequels to films from yesteryear, like Top Gun: Maverick, and what they might mean for E.T.
He says it’s unlikely Spielberg will revisit E.T., so the Xfinity ad is the closest audience members will come to seeing E.T. and Elliott reunite.
According to the actor, the 2019 Xfinity ad created a “huge stir on the internet” but he wasn’t sure if it went beyond it.
Read his full quote below:
“There had been ideas kicked around over the years. There were some serious talks early on because the studio was really pushing for it, to follow up the success of the 1982 season…That’s why the commercial, I think Spielberg okayed the commercial because that’s as close to a sequel as he’s willing to go, as he’s willing to allow.”
Several details regarding E.T.’s potential follow-up have been revealed since its release. In the original ending of E.T., the camera pans up to a communicator—which implies Elliott and E.T. continue to communicate. The scene was cut, however, because Elliott and E.T.’s goodbye ended up being the best way to conclude the film.
Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison wrote a treatment for a E.T. sequel, titled “E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears”, which was centered around Elliott and his friends who were abducted by aliens and rescued by E.T.
Spielberg ultimately abandoned this idea for the sake of preserving the original’s purity.
William Kotzwinkle, the author of E.T. ‘s novelization, also wrote a sequel titled “E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet”, though it was never considered for a big-screen project.
Similarly, Thomas’ co-star Drew Barrymore has said a big-screen E.T. sequel is unlikely. Spielberg likely won’t approve a sequel or reboot, but the film’s spirit lives on in nostalgia-driven projects like Stranger Things, which has revived interest in ’80s pop culture.
A sequel to E.T. would be a lot of pressure, and carries the risk of tarnishing the original’s legacy. So, maybe it’s for the best if the space voyage of the titular character comes to a close.
About E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (or E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison. The film stars Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, and Drew Barrymore.
The concept of the film was based on an imaginary friend that Spielberg created after his parents’ divorce. It tells the story of Elliott, a boy who befriends an extraterrestrial dubbed E.T., who is stranded on Earth. Along with his friends and family, Elliott must find a way to help E.T. return home while avoiding the government.