It’s been 40 years since Steven Spielberg’s family sci-fi classic was released and made almost $800 million at the worldwide box office on a budget of just $10 million. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial surpassed Star Wars as the biggest movie of all time, a record it held until the director topped it with his own Jurassic Park in 1993. It’s not surprising then, that given the blockbuster’s success, Universal Pictures were demanding a sequel.
ET 2 was called ET II: Nocturnal Fears and was penned by Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison in the year of the original’s release.
The plot follows on from ET, with the Taylor children missing their alien buddy, only for them to become overjoyed to find an alien spacecraft. However, the creatures on board are evil albino carnivores with huge red eyes and fangs. Korel is the leader of this species which is actually at war with ET’s. He ends up kidnapping and torturing the children until Elliott lets out such ao powerful screen that ET (real name Zrek it turns out) hears them in space and returns to Earth to save his friends.
In the end, Spielberg decided not to move ahead with the project, as recalled by Gertie actress Drew Barrymore.
Barrymore previously told Watch What Happens Live: “I will say that in the early ’80s there was not a lot of talk of sequels and because Steven Spielberg made Jaws and ET there was a lot of talk within his camp about sequels but he never wanted to make them because he felt like what he did is just ‘as it should be.’ I remember staying at his house when I was seven because he was like a godfather to me and he said, ‘Nope, we’re never going to make a sequel, it’s just as it is.’ That was his philosophy, so who was I to question it?”
Spielberg later said he felt his ET 2 “would do nothing but rob the original of its virginity. ET is not about going back to the planet.” Despite this, ET was reunited with Elliott star Henry Thomas in a sequel of sorts.
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In 2019, a four-minute advert called ET Came Home For Christmas was released by NBC, with Thomas reprising his role as a grown-up dad with a family of his own. In the short film, ET returns to Earth for the festive season in a story that was approved by Spielberg himself.
Earlier this summer, the Elliott star confessed he hoped a feature-length sequel would never be made. Yet according to Slash Film, he added: “I guarantee you, there are a few men in a very big room now salivating and using their Abacus and slide rules to come up with some really, really big numbers.”