More than 35 years after the release of Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” the lovable alien is returning to the screen in a special commercial that begins airing this Thanksgiving.
In the spot, E.T. travels to Earth to reunite with a grown-up Elliott and his new family. Henry Thomas, the actor who originally played Elliott in the 1982 film, is now a married 40-something father of two.
“You came back. My son, my family,” Thomas says to E.T. as he introduces his friend to his family and welcomes him into their home. “A lot has changed since you were here.”
The cute commercial is an ad for Xfinity and Sky alongside Comcast/NBCUniversal, and it shows E.T. now tinkering with an Xfinity powered tablet, wearing a VR headset and the whole family sitting down to watch a movie on their smart TV.
It’s very much done in the spirit of Spielberg’s original film, with E.T. eating a cupcake topped with Reese’s Pieces and then flying Elliott’s kids on bicycles over the silhouette of the moon. Apparently Spielberg himself even signed off on the ad, which inspired Thomas to get involved.
“The audience is going to 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. It’s really a win-win,” the actor said in a statement. “Looking at the storyboards, I could see exactly why Steven was really behind it, because the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling.”
“More than anything, the whole story is about family,” the commercial’s director Lance Acord said in a statement. Acord is best known as the cinematographer on films such as “Lost in Translation,” “Marie Antoinette” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”
“Our goal is to show how Xfinity and Sky technology connects family, friends and loved ones, which is so important during the holidays. The classic friendship between E.T. and Elliott resonates around the world, and their story became a very meaningful way to bring our company’s consumer technology to life,” Peter Intermaggio, senior vice president for marketing communications of Comcast Cable, said.
“People don’t care about technology inherently. They care about the way it connects them to other people. This story is an emotional reunion between two characters we know and love. It’s a perfect story for the holidays at a time when our emotions are very close to the surface,” added Jeff Goodby, co-chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GS&P).
Watch the full, four-minute short film continuing the story of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” above.