E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears - the sequel that never happened

13 June 2023
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, directed by Steven Spielberg, is widely regarded as one of the most beloved and successful films in cinematic history. Released in 1982, it captivated audiences with its heartwarming tale of friendship between a young boy named Elliott and an alien visitor named E.T.

Not only did E.T. leave a lasting impact on popular culture, but it also held the distinction of being the highest-grossing film of all time for several years. Its immense box office success, coupled with its critical acclaim, solidified its status as an iconic masterpiece in the world of cinema.

Steven Spielberg, known for his visionary storytelling and meticulous attention to detail, has been notably hesitant when it comes to creating sequels to his own films (But let's call out the massive hit that was Jurrasic Park and its 5 sequels thus far). Despite the potential for financial gain, he has often chosen to focus on exploring new ideas and narratives rather than revisiting past successes.

In the case of E.T., Spielberg firmly believed that the story had reached a natural and satisfying conclusion. The film's ending, with E.T. bidding farewell to Elliott and returning to his home planet, resonated deeply with audiences and left a profound emotional impact. Spielberg recognized the power of this ending and the closure it provided, making him reluctant to compromise its integrity by continuing the story.

Or did he?

There was another... script.

e.t. nocturnal dreams sequel

Despite Steven Spielberg's reluctance to create a sequel for E.T., there were indeed attempts to continue the story. One notable example is the existence of a draft script titled "E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears." This script, penned by Melissa Mathison, the original film's screenwriter, explored the possibility of extending the E.T. universe.

"E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears" introduced the concept of a new group of aliens who arrive on Earth, causing havoc and creating a sense of fear and suspense. The story focused on Elliott and his friends teaming up with E.T. to confront this new threat and protect their planet. The script delved into themes of trust, loyalty, and the resilience of friendship, while still capturing the sense of wonder and magic that made the original film so captivating.

Despite the potential of the draft script and the fresh perspective it brought, Spielberg ultimately made the decision not to move forward with the concept. His primary concern was protecting the integrity of the original film. Spielberg recognized that any continuation or expansion of the E.T. story ran the risk of diluting the emotional impact and the cherished memories associated with the first film. By not pursuing the sequel, he ensured that the power and resonance of E.T.'s journey would remain intact and untarnished.

In today's film industry, sequels have become increasingly prevalent. Studios often rely on familiar franchises and established intellectual properties to generate guaranteed box office success. While sequels can offer audiences a chance to revisit beloved characters and worlds, their reception has been mixed. Some sequels successfully expand upon the original film's universe and engage audiences, while others fall short, feeling like cash grabs that lack the creativity and emotional depth of their predecessors.

Steven Spielberg stands apart from the sequel-centric trends in Hollywood. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a commitment to exploring new stories and pushing creative boundaries. Spielberg's filmography boasts a diverse range of projects, showcasing his ability to captivate audiences with fresh narratives and innovative filmmaking techniques. He has consistently sought to challenge himself as a storyteller, rather than relying on the safety net of sequels to sustain his success.

Furthermore, Spielberg's commitment to the art of storytelling allowed him to explore new avenues and create original works that resonated with audiences. He understood the importance of challenging himself creatively and bringing fresh experiences to viewers. By focusing on new projects, Spielberg maintained his reputation as a visionary filmmaker, dedicated to pushing the boundaries of cinematic storytelling.

The Anniversary Edition and Nostalgic Revisits

In celebration of E.T.'s 20th anniversary, Steven Spielberg revisited the film, providing audiences with a special edition that allowed them to relive the magic of the original. This anniversary edition offered an opportunity to honor the film's enduring legacy and the impact it had on multiple generations of viewers.

The 20th-anniversary edition of E.T. showcased Spielberg's careful approach to enhancing the film while remaining faithful to its original essence. The edition included digital enhancements that enhanced the visual effects, such as refining E.T.'s facial expressions and seamlessly integrating CGI elements. However, Spielberg made a conscious effort to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the original film, ensuring that the changes did not overshadow the nostalgic charm and emotional depth that made E.T. so beloved.

Speilberg is on record though as regretting the CGI manipulation of the guns into torches. 

Spielberg's decision to revisit E.T. through the anniversary edition demonstrated his understanding of the nostalgic and emotional connection that viewers have with the film. It showcased his ability to pay tribute to its legacy without compromising the original story's impact and integrity. By offering a fresh but respectful perspective, Spielberg celebrated the enduring magic of E.T. while avoiding the potential pitfalls of a direct sequel.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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