(Dateline April 1, 2014) Steven Spielberg shocked the entertainment world today by announcing he is producing a sequel to his 1982 classic, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Spielberg spoke to a room packed full of press and Hollywood insiders, eager to hear about the director’s, up until now, top secret project. Although rumors had run rampant, no one expected today’s surprise revelation that Spielberg’s beloved family classic will be receiving a second act.
When asked why he was willing to risk ruining the legacy of E.T. with a new film, Spielberg responded, “I’ve noticed that almost everything that surrounds the E.T. generation has been corrupted or ruined. Whether it’s the legacy of Michael Jackson or the final three films of the Star Wars saga, most everything that generation once found magical has now been corrupted or destroyed for corporate gain. When I think of E.T., it is one of the last remaining memories of childhood that has yet to be defiled…so I’m going to make a sequel!”
Spielberg spent a fair amount of time today commenting about the new artistic vision that will accompany his E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial sequel. “First and foremost, the film is going to be about how we deal with the struggles of death, dying and aging. While the first movie was about an alien coming back to life, this one will be about the slow and arduous process of death and disillusionment” Spielberg stated. “This movie is not about E.T. getting home, it’s about the futility of E.T. being home while slowly dying.”
Spielberg announced that the movie will take place 32 years later from the original movie. The movie will start with Elliott signing papers for his second divorce, when he hears news that his younger sister Gertie has once again relapsed into her meth addiction. While Elliott drives to bail his sister out of jail, E.T’s troubled grandson shows up to inform Elliott of E.T.’s imminent demise. After this, the real hijinks begin.
Drew Barrymore will reprise her role as Gertie, Elliot will be portrayed by Jack Black, and Seth Rogan will be E.T.’s voice. Spielberg also mentioned that E.T. will not be animated by CGI, but rather will be crafted by the puppeteer who made the blue elephant puppet for the Star Wars cantina band.
When asked if he would direct the new film, Spielberg said that he is handing the directing reins to M. Night Shyamalan, director of such hits as The Last Airbender and After Earth. “M. really has my vision in exploring the silence and distance that has developed between a disillusioned Elliot and a self-absorbed, dying E.T..
Among the press conference’s greatest surprises was Spielberg’s announcement that he is also hiring the song writing team from the hit Disney movie Frozen to write four original songs for the sequel. Spielberg said that “After seeing Frozen, I realized the only way I can do justice to this new film is to set the story to music. Some words can only be understood when sung.” Spielberg paused and smiled, “I think you are going to hear some songs you won’t be able to get out of your head.”
The final question of the day concerned what the new movie will be called. Spielberg said nothing has been set in stone, but that the project is tentatively titled, “E.T. Innocence Lost.”
With an announced released date of Christmas 2015, fans will have to wait a little while longer to experience Innocence Lost. Until then, they’ll just have to anxiously wait.
Doug Bursch Tweets @fairlyspiritual
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Douglas Bursch is the author of Posting Peace: Why Social Media Divides Us and What We Can Do About It. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church in Auburn, Washington.