It has been revealed that the iconic ending of the cult favorite 80s film E.T. wasn’t what the creators had originally planned!
Scroll down for TL;DR if you are feeling lazy.
The Steven Spielberg directed film is known as a pop-culture classic. When it was released in 1982 by Universal Pictures, the film became an instant blockbuster hit and scored itself the title of the highest-grossing film of all time. The film held the title for eleven years – until Spielberg surpassed his own record with his 1993 film Jurassic Park. To this day, E.T. is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made – partly due to its memorable end scene.
Set to a heart-wrenching score, the film comes to a close as E.T. farewells his friend Elliott and heads back home. The bittersweet goodbye may have been memorable, but it wasn’t how the finale was originally planned.
In an interview with Yahoo, Robert MacNaughton, who played Elliott’s older brother Michael, talked about the show’s impact on modern pop-culture before revealing how the film was originally supposed to end.
“Yeah, I can’t believe it. It’s been on Netflix for like a year now, and I attribute that to Stranger Things. My wife and I watched Stranger Things, and it was like, “Wait a minute — that’s straight out of E.T.!” And they’re playing Dungeons and Dragons! It was funny because Dungeons and Dragons was even in the audition process [for E.T.],” said MacNaughton. “One of the auditions was at Harrison Ford’s house because he and Melissa Mathison, who wrote the script, were together, and his kids Ben and Willard played Dungeons and Dragons. So one of the auditions was at Harrison Ford’s house with all of us playing Dungeons and Dragons. So it was always a part of the whole, of the script, an integral part.”
MacNaughton then went on to discuss how D&D was initially supposed to play a role in the end scene.
“In fact, the last scene in the movie wasn’t supposed to be the scene that ends up in the movie. The last scene was going to be all of us playing Dungeons and Dragons again, except this time, Elliott’s the dungeon master. Because he was the one that found ET, he sort of got in with the group. And so that was supposed to be the final scene, it was in the script and everything, and then they would pan up to the roof and you’d see the communicator and it’s still working — in other words, Elliott is still in touch with E.T. But after they did the score, the music, and they saw what they had with the spaceship taking off and everything [laughs] — how can you follow that? I mean, it was a wise choice.”
While the game had a huge impact on the film’s plot, It is difficult to imagine the cult classic ending any other way than E.T.’s tear-jerking departure. However, had Elliot become the Dungeon master and kept in touch with E.T., perhaps the ending would have opened-up the opportunity for a sequel film.
TL;DR: E.T. could have ended with a round of Dungeons and Dragons with Elliott taking on the role of Dungeon master. The initial ending alluded to Elliott keeping in touch with E.T., by including a shot of his communicator still working.