E.T. and Elliott are on screen together again in a new holiday 4-minute short film. Chances of a movie sequel to E.T. The Extra Terrestrial are as remote as his home planet. Comcast’s Xfinity service however has decided to give film buffs a treat in the shape of a bite-sized reunion between E.T. and Elliott (Henry Thomas, now 48).
Their Christmas ad sees the grown up Elliott and his family receiving a visit from the diminutive alien icon. Over the course of 4 minutes they catch up, with E.T. seeing what’s been going on in the world since his Eighties appearance. Needless to say the internet – provided by Comcast’s Xfinity service – plays a big role in that.
For Thomas, the production – titled ‘A Holiday Reunion’ – captures the essence of what made the original movie special. Speaking to io9, he believes viewers get “everything they want out of a sequel without the messy bits that could destroy the beauty of the original and the special place it has in people’s minds and hearts.” Adding that E.T. director Steven Spielberg approves of the idea, he said “the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling.”
Sky is also involved in the ad. Quoted by the Express, its UK and Ireland CEO Stephen van Rooyen commented “It’s an honour to bring E.T. back to Earth in this new festive short story.”
E.T. was released in 1982 by Universal, who are owned by Comcast. The central character was based on an imaginary friend the young Spielberg invented to deal with his parents’ divorce. Melissa Mathison wrote the screenplay, and the film was also Drew Barrymore’s breakthrough. It cost $10 million to make and grossed well over half a billion.
The loveable alien was designed by Carlos Rambaldi and was a combination of animatronics, puppetry and performance. Actress Pat Welsh supplied the voice of E.T. and 3 artists got into a costume for wide shots. These were little people Tamara De Treaux and Pat Dilon, together with Matthew De Meritt who was born without legs. He was only 12 years old at the time.
A 20th anniversary edition saw new CGI special effects added. The festive offering is made using both traditional and digital techniques.
This isn’t the first time a follow up to E.T. has been thought of. Last year Movieweb wrote that Spielberg worked on a treatment for Part 2: “Evil aliens were going to come from space, an albino version of the same species as E.T. and they were to kidnap Elliot and his friends. E.T. was going to have to come back to save his Earth family from the evil alien population that had been at war with the good aliens.”
The story, speculatively outlined before the original’s release, has been heavily criticized. Barrymore mentioned in interviews that Spielberg only ever intended the story to be a one off.
Barrymore went on to Hollywood stardom while Thomas played noteworthy roles, such as a young Norman Bates in Psycho IV (1990). He’s collaborated frequently with director Mike Flanagan, on Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House and Doctor Sleep among others. He will next be seen in the DC TV series Stargirl as Doctor Mid-Nite.
Talking to Rolling Stone in 1982, Spielberg said “The hope is that the character of Elliott and the creature are going to live much better lives for having had that experience and that essentially they’re always going to be together. They’re simpatico… I think feelings are infinite. And I really truly believe it in my heart and if I ever make another E.T. I will prove that E.T. and Elliott are locked forever in a simpatico relationship.”
That truth was confirmed, only it happened on the small screen where E.T and Elliott found each other again in a short film, displaying all the warmth associated with E.T.’s glowing heart.