Essays · Movies

Fan Theory Friday: Wait … is E.T. a Jedi?!?!

By  · Published on February 24th, 2017

Read this one must.

Welcome back to Fan Theory Friday, where I explore some of the most sensational fan theories as they pertain to your favorite films. This week we’ve got a real doozy on our hands, and going in I want you to know that I wholeheartedly believe it. It’s been floating around awhile now but it’s always worth an examination.

The theory is: E.T. from Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial is actually a Jedi Knight from the Star Wars universe of George Lucas. I know, it’s awesome.

Now, the first way in which this theory holds water comes from the well-known fact that Spielberg and Lucas went to film school with each other and were (and still are) very close friends and collaborators. Outside their separate successes, they of course both developed the Indiana Jones franchise and have helped one another behind-the-scenes on various projects. They even traded residuals for the sci-fi films each made in the late ’70s: Lucas got a stake in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Spielberg got a stake in Star Wars. Little imbalanced, that, but they’re still tight so no love lost, I guess.

What we’re talking about here, then, are two creative guys with close ties who have used each other as sounding boards pretty much their entire careers. If you think Spielberg made E.T. without at least discussing the details with Lucas, you’re wrong. We know he did, and furthermore there are a minimum of two Star Wars references in E.T.: the more obvious is the trick-or-treater dressed like Yoda…

…and the second reference is a little less blunt: Elliott playing with Star Wars figures, seen only in silhouette.

This is all fine and dandy, and certainly interesting, but by itself it doesn’t do too much to validate the theory. How it does, we’ll come back to in just a second, but there’s another primary facet to this.

When Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, nearly everybody noticed the delegates of the Galactic Senate who were obviously the same species as our beloved E.T.:

This is where things kick into high gear, because if you’re a member of the Galactic Senate at the time of Episode One, there’s no way in Hoth you don’t know who Yoda is, cuz that dude was forever addressing the Chamber.

Additionally, we know from the title crawl that the events of the Star Wars saga happened “a long time ago,” meaning obviously our past. It makes sense to me that a figure as important as Yoda would be remembered for millennia after his demise, he’d be legendary, a story told to children of all species for generations. Furthermore, though we don’t know the name of his species and we only ever seen one other creature like him, also in the Senate Chamber, it’s entirely plausible that the species continues to exist to our modern day. Whatever the reason, though, E.T. knows who Yoda is, or he at least knows that dudes who look like Yoda come from the same galaxy as him, because what does E.T. do when he encounters the trick-or-treater?

Yeah. He starts muttering “Home” and tries to go to Yoda before being steered away by his human protectors.

In 1982 this was joke, it was an obvious Easter Egg, but in the wake of Phantom Menace it took on a new context. Now we knew definitively that the two species were from the same point of origin, and we already knew that Jedi Knights came from a variety of species, so then it isn’t too big of a leap to imagine that little E.T. could be a modern-day Jedi filled with the power of The Force.

How else do you explain this?

Or, you know, this?

I don’t know about you, but that looks a helluva lot like The Force to me. And if is, then that can mean only one thing: E.T. is a Jedi Knight, and your childhood just got infinitely cooler.

The best part about this theory, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t alter either film universe, it doesn’t affect story or outcome, it’s just an incredibly neat inside joke, so to speak, that further enriches our enjoyment of both properties. That said, if Disney wants to greenlight E.T. 2: A Star Wars Story, I can think of a few billion people ready to throw money their way with both fists.

Sound off in the comments and on Twitter if you think this theory has legs, or it’s just a bunch of hooey. And if you have any fun fan theories you want explored, tweet them at me and I’ll add them to the queue. We’ll see you next week.

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