Steven Spielberg loved the E.T. reunion short with Elliott for an Xfinity commercial. A lot of people wondered how the commercial was even possible, which included original Elliott actor Henry Thomas. There have been E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial sequel talks for years, but nothing has ever happened officially and original star Drew Barrymore says it will never happen. So, when the news dropped that Spielberg okayed a short film with one of the most iconic characters of all time, people were thrilled.
Henry Thomas was skeptical about the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial holiday reunion commercial. Whenever anything having to do with the franchise is brought up, he always goes to Steven Spielberg to see whether or not something is appropriate or not. However, when initially talking to Xfinity, he learned that Steven Spielberg not only signed off on the deal, but he also loved the story. Thomas explains.
“You know, there’s always been talk of sequels and things like that. And it’s really funny because it’s Steven Spielberg’s baby, you know? And he’s very particular about this film. So I’ve always viewed any attempt at revamping the character or showing it in a different context as the thing that’s never going to happen. And then they said, well, Steven signed off on the story. He loves it. And I said, ‘What?'”
Once Henry Thomas found out Steven Spielberg gave the E.T. reunion his blessing, he was all for it. Especially considering there will never be an E.T. 2. “Looking at the storyboards and everything, I could see why Steven was really behind it because the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling or re-shaping of it,” says Thomas. The commercial is basically a nearly 5-minute tribute to one of the most iconic movies of all time and features dozens of Easter Eggs from the original movie.
The interview with Henry Thomas comes from a new behind-the-scenes video about the making of the E.T. reunion. Another reason why Steven Spielberg probably signed off on the Xfinity pitch is because of the hard work that was going to be put into making it a reality. Instead of E.T. being an all CG character, the production team decided to go old school with a puppet and some additional CG help. Alan Scott, the animatronic effects supervisor of Legacy Effects had this to say.
“Such an iconic character. Steven never wanted to do a sequel. This is a character that is beloved by everybody for generations. So you can’t screw it up. We had a team of mechanics, painters, mold makers that all have to recreate this character. With a rod puppet, you get a really fluid, connected performance. Little subtleties of head movement and arm movement you can’t get with internal robotics. And the easier thing for CG to do is to remove the rods and remove the puppeteers than to do a full CG character.”
There have been some mixed reviews over the E.T. reunion, but for the most part, people seem to be really happy to see Elliott and the extra-terrestrial back together again after all of this time. One can easily see that a lot of work went into making it the best that it could be and hopefully Steven Spielberg will come out and talk about it soon. For now, you can watch the behind-the-scenes video below, thanks to the Xfinity YouTube channel.