Steven Spielberg talks ET editing "mistake" that he regrets now

·2-min read
et the extra terrestrial
Steven Spielberg talks ET editing "mistake"Universal

Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg has admitted his regret over the ever-popular ET the Extra-Terrestrial.

The Fabelmans director went back and digitally altered the film classic for its 20th anniversary release in 2002, replacing the federal agents' guns with walkie-talkies.

Now, at the Time 100 Summit (via Deadline), the director has admitted that he was wrong to have made that change, while explaining why he thought it was the right thing to do at the time.

et the extra terrestrial

Related: Steven Spielberg reveals his verdict on Indiana Jones 5

"That was a mistake," he said. "I never should have done that. ET is a product of its era. No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are either voluntarily or being forced to peer through.

"ET was a film that I was sensitive to the fact that the federal agents were approaching kids with firearms exposed and I thought I would change the guns into walkie-talkies… Years went by and I changed my own views.

"I should have never messed with the archives of my own work, and I don’t recommend anyone do that... All our movies are a kind of a signpost of where we were when we made them, what the world was like and what the world was receiving when we got those stories out there. So I really regret having that out there."

et the extra terrestrial

Related: ET star Henry Thomas opens up on "struggle" after movie's success

His friend and Star Wars creator George Lucas also digitally altered some of his classic films, receiving much criticism for doing so.

Unlike Spielberg, Lucas has continued to alter his films, with the most recent Star Wars iterations being the only ones available on Blu-ray/4K and streaming.

By contrast, the original theatrical cut of ET is now the only one in circulation.

ET: The Extra-Terrestrial is currently available to steam on Prime Video.

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