Movies That Never Were – E.T.2: Nocturnal Fears

E.T. is, undoubtedly, one of the most beloved films of all time. We all know the story of the poor cute little alien, ET, who gets left behind on earth who then befriends Elliot before eventually phoning home. A curious asides, well conicidence, is that ET was the number one movie at both the American and British box office the day I was born.

It’s one of the best family films of all time and it really, really, holds up today. The trailer to the remaster is below so feel free to refresh your memores of this classic.

Now after watching that the big question has to be “What about a sequel?!” As you justknow that if ET was made today there would’ve been two sequels, a remake, and a spinoff, all before breakfast. As it turns out there was talk of an ET2 film that got as far as the script treatment phase. A script treatment is a 10-15 page outline of a film that’ll have a few fleshed out scenes and all the major “beats” of a film in it. Studios use these as a way to assess ideas before ordering a full script.

ET writer and director Steven Spielberg has said many, many, times that to make a sequel to ET would’ve been to rob it of it’s magic. And of course he’s right. However… The treatment we’re about to look at IS his, well his and his ET co-writer Melissa Mathison, so it’s curious to see where he wanted to take the story next. It is worth noting however that Universal made A LOT of money from ET. Masses of money so it was them who were pushing Spielberg for a sequel as it would’ve made them billions.

ET 2 would’ve started off with a UFO landing in the forest behind Elliots house. Yay we’d all think. ET is back! Well there are certainly Extra Terrestrial’s on board but ET they are most certainly not. This is another group of Aliens who have picked up ETs distress signal. They’re searching for an alien called Zrek who we all know as ET but they’re not looking to take him home. These guys are evil, albino, versions of ET who like to eat anything they come across and have razor sharp teeth. This group are also at war with ETs species. Uhoh. They also capture examples of various planets wildlife to keep in cages on board their UFO. Suffice to say that the reasons are not good ones. Oh and they mutilated and ate various deers, cows, and the like. This mutilation was to be shown in graphic details apparently as noting says ET like animal slaughter…

Elliot’s parents are now officially divorced (they’d only separated in the first movie) and his mum is now dating Keys the relatively friendly FBI Agent from the first film. Keys believes that meeting ET changed his live by bringing him a more positive outcome but he also believes that Elliot and his friends have an unhealthy hope of meeting ET again.

Elliot, using the Speak-N-Spell communicated picks up the arrival of the big UFO so thinking his space buddy is back takes his sister Gertie and a few of his mates in to the woods. This is where the film goes in a direction that might surprise you…

Elliot and his gang come across the evil Aliens and get captured, interrogated, and tortured. Gertie is crying and broken, Elliot himself is reduced to a shell of a boy after the evil Aliens take their torture to a more phsyical level, and pretty much it looks like the kids are going to be eaten alive. Elliot eventually collapses he’s been tortured that badly. The poor kid is left for dead in his cell.

As Spielberg films go this one would’ve been far more harrowing that Saving Private Ryan. Dying in his cell Elliot painfully cries out “ET! ET!” Just when all hope is lost, and by this point 2 thirds of this films run time would’ve featured the kid torture scenes, ET manages to telepathically hear Elliot’s cries and in the last five minutes he saves the day.

So yeah… That could’ve been ET 2. A dark, bleak, tale of child torture by extra terrestrials that would’ve only featured our beloved ET in the last 5 minutes for his rescue. After rescuing Elliot and defeating the evil aliens though ET just sodded off. No happy ending at all here.

The treatment for this is easy enough to find via Google so give it a look if you want to see just how dark ET could’ve gotten.

Now I’ve a theory on this one. I reckon that Spielberg might’ve purposefully sabotaged the treatment. It’s on record that he didn’t want a sequel so when pushed by Universal f0r one he turned in something that they couldn’t, or rather wouldn’t, use.

A second ET would’ve definitely reduced some of the magic of the original.