For Thanksgiving, we all got an early Christmas present: A belated E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial sequel. Titled “A Holiday Reunion,” the four-minute short film reunited a grown-up Henry Thomas (Elliott in the original, The Haunting of Hill House recently) with the adorable E.T. And it was also… an Xfinity commercial? Somehow it all worked and charmed the pants off of everyone who watched it. And now we know exactly how, as Xfinity has released a thorough making-of segment — that’s longer than the ad itself.
If you loved the ad, love E.T., or love making-ofs in general, you owe it to yourself to watch the full piece as soon as possible, and I’m not trying to spoil that experience for you. I’ll just point out a few clutch moments. For one: They used a real puppet E.T., with only mild CG enhancements genuinely improving upon the effects of the character (in part to assist the child characters, in part for the look). For two: Steven Spielberg himself approved of the ad! For three: Thomas shares how important it was to make the original film, both from a broad, cultural standpoint and for him personally as a child. And finally: You can tell the crew cares passionately not just about E.T., but about filmmaking in general. I’d love to see these folks make an original movie, please!
Below, check out the full making of the delightful spot. Make sure to watch the ad itself here. Plus, for more on Spielberg, here’s how an Indiana Jones action figure created the PG-13 rating everyone’s after these days.