Whatever Happened to E.T. 2? | TheReviewGeek Investigates

In 1982, a strange-looking alien named E.T. landed on our cinema screens and broke our hearts into a million little pieces. At the end of Steven Spielberg’s beloved movie, this lovable character said goodbye to Elliot, Gertie, Michael, and the other human friends he had made and waddled back into his spaceship. He then blasted off into the skies for adventures anew and we never saw him again. Well, bar the occasional TV advert that is.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was a big hit with audiences and critics alike and the movie performed exceedingly well at the box office. Shortly after the movie’s release, there were rumours of a sequel, but as we all know by now, that never happened. 

So, what happened to E.T. 2? And what would the sequel have been about? Let’s take a closer look at the E.T. movie that never came to be. 

What is E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial about?

We’re pretty sure we don’t need to run through the plot of the movie with you. But just in case you have forgotten or have been living on another planet for the last 40 years or so, Spielberg’s movie told the story of a boy named Elliot (Henry Thomas) who discovered an alien creature hiding in his backyard.

Thankfully, E.T. was a friendly alien so Elliot wasn’t gobbled up or turned into a pod person by this unusual-looking character. Instead, the lonely young boy made a new friend. But it wasn’t long before he realized E.T. couldn’t survive on our planet – cue the near-death scene that made us all reach for our hankies – so he embarked on a quest to return E.T. home.

Our Ending Explained article goes into further detail about the plot of the movie (and its heartbreaking ending), so take a look at our article if you need a refresher.

Who had the idea for E.T. 2?

After the release of the first movie, Spielberg revealed that he and Melissa Matheson (who wrote the screenplay for the first movie) had written a treatment for E.T. 2. 

It’s little surprise that a second movie was considered given the success of the first movie but despite creating a 9-page treatment outlining what the story would be, Spielberg decided against making the sequel. 

What would E.T. 2 have been about?

The movie would have been called Nocturnal Fears and, as you can gather from the title, would have been much darker in tone than the 1982 classic that still has a place in many people’s hearts today.

During the movie’s opening, another spaceship would have landed on Earth with a familiar-looking figure silhouetted in the doorway of the ship. But in what would surely have been a surprise to audiences, this alien was part of a different faction of the one E.T. belonged to, and, according to the treatment, was evil! 

These aliens come to our planet to hunt for E.T., whose real name is Zrek according to the pitch that Spielberg and Matheson had written. 

Over the course of the story, Elliot and his siblings are taken prisoner by this alien faction and Elliot is interrogated until he is “mentally and physically drained.” His limp body is then taken back to Michael and Gertie who are being held captive in a cage. 

Don’t worry though. While all hope seems lost for the youngsters, a hatch opens, and E.T. turns up with his glowing finger raised and his heart-light pulsating. He frees the kids, reprograms the alien ship’s navigation controls, and has a tearful reunion with his human friends. Hoorah!

E.T. doesn’t stick around for long though. As the treatment reveals, “E.T.’s own Mothership descends from the Heavens to take the place of the evil ship that is now en route to a remote corner of the galaxy.” He then waddles back onto his ship and leaves. Sob! 

If you would like to know more about the story for the sequel, you can read the full plot treatment at genius.com

Why didn’t Spielberg make E.T. 2?

E.T. 2 was much anticipated at the time of the first movie’s release because audiences wanted to spend more time with the alien they had fallen in love with. But considering the proposed movie may have been even more traumatic than the 1982 classic – the evil aliens were carnivores with huge red eyes and fangs – it’s perhaps understandable that it never made it out of the pitch room. 

Drew Barrymore, who starred as the adorable Gertie in the original film, recalled Speilberg telling her that the sequel wouldn’t happen when she stayed over at his house. In an extract of an interview mentioned here, she said: 

“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?”

Henry Thomas, who famously rode his bike into the sky with E.T.’s help in the first movie, echoed Drew’s words in an interview with CinemaBlend. He said:

“There certainly was a lot of talk in the early days and throughout the ‘80s about there potentially being a sequel. But it was always shot down pretty early by Spielberg. I think that he just regards this as a classic, and a standalone film, and a feather in his cap in a lot of ways. So I think he’s reticent to touch it at all.”

But what about Spielberg himself? What did he have to say about the sequel that never happened? Well, as quoted at Hollywood. com, the Indiana Jones director had this to say when speaking to the American Film Institute:

“Sequels can be very dangerous because they compromise your truth as an artist. I think a sequel to E.T. would do nothing but rob the original of its virginity. People only remember the latest episode, while the pilot tarnishes.”

Was Spielberg right to avoid a sequel? We will never know for sure. It may have been another classic but then again, it could have been another The Lost World: Jurassic Park or Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny – a sequel that failed to maintain or surpass the quality of the original movie. 

Will there ever be an E.T. 2?

It could be assumed that a sequel to Spielberg’s magical family movie will never happen. But considering the same year’s Blade Runner was given a sequel many years later and the fact that another popular 80s movie – Top Gun – also received a sequel, there is a possibility that E.T. 2 could happen one day. There has been no official confirmation of this, however, so you shouldn’t get your hopes up. But given Hollywood’s tendency to revisit classic characters, somebody somewhere (presumably not Spielberg) might decide to direct a second E.T. movie. 

If a sequel is given the green light, it could follow the story treatment written by Speilberg and Matheson. Or it might be based on the novelized sequel E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet which saw the diminutive alien break his planet’s laws and return to Earth to visit Elliot. Or we might get a crossover movie – E.T. Vs Predator, anyone?

For now, we will just have to watch the skies in the hope that E.T. does descend from the skies again. Or we could purchase a vintage Speak ‘n’ Spell and turn it into a transmitter so we can phone E.T.’s home to discuss a sequel with him. 

Or perhaps we shouldn’t consider the possibility of a sequel. As E.T. said to Elliot at the end of the first movie, “I’ll be right here.” You see, he has never really left us. We will always have our memories of the 1982 movie, so in this regard, E.T. (or Zrek if you want to get pedantic about it), will always remain in our hearts and our minds, so there is no need for a follow-up movie.


Read More: 10 Movie Sequels We Want To See Greenlit

Do you want to see a sequel to E.T.? What do you think the movie should be about? Let us know in the comments below.


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