“E.T. phone home,” the brown bulbous alien of Steven Spielberg’s coming-of-age sci-fi, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, groans in the film’s most quotable line. Arriving on earth in a vast spacecraft, the titular character is abandoned by his impatient family who flee back into space after being pursued by federal agents, heading back to their home across the stars in a galaxy far, far away.
Left on earth, E.T. finds safety with a young boy, Elliot (Henry Thomas), and his family, including his sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton). Attempting to hide the frightened creature from the authorities, E.T. becomes something of a pet and extra sibling, showing off his own unique characteristics as he forms a tight bond with the selfless family.
The alien’s abilities are undoubtedly special, however, levitating objects around the family home as well as creating psychic links between himself, Elliot, Gertie and Michael. Many fans of the iconic Spielberg film have pointed out how his abilities share remarkable similarities to that of the Jedi in George Lucas’ famous Star Wars franchise, so, could the brown blob truly be a guardian of the force?
Attending film school together, the creators of both E.T. and Star Wars, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, have always had a close friendship, often collaborating with each other on projects. The most obvious of these projects is Raiders of the Lost Ark, the very first Indiana Jones film created under the LucasFilm company that saw Spielberg direct with Lucas helping out in the script department.
Released one year after Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T paid tribute to George Lucas with two notable references to the Star Wars universe. The first comes during the trick-or-treat scene in the film, when E.T. is covered in a ghost-like sheet before he’s led around the neighbourhood by Elliot and his siblings. Encountering all sorts of ghouls and creatures, at one point the alien clearly comes face-to-face with a child dressed as Yoda, the iconic green alien of Lucas’ series.
Though this reference is pretty blunt, the second comes during a ‘blink and you’ll miss it scene’ in which Elliot is playing with Star Wars action figures, one of whom being the bounty hunter Greedo.
Lucas would later return the favour for Spielberg in the release of the long-awaited prequel movie The Phantom Menace in 1999, whereby three creatures quite clearly resembling E.T. appear as delegates of the Galactic Senate.
So, if E.T. is part of the Star Wars universe and displays all the powers and capabilities of the Jedi themselves, what’s stopping fans from identifying him as a Jedi. Levitating bikes to hover through the air and reviving drooping flowers, similar to how Rey healed a creature in The Rise of Skywalker, there’s definite ground to believe that E.T. is indeed a force-wielder.
Having no impact on the wider world of Star Wars or E.T The Extra Terrestrial, these are the kinds of fan theories we love, and who knows, maybe we’ll see E.T. wield a blue (or red) lightsaber in the future. We sincerely hope so.