Early ET concept art

We know the history of Steven Spielberg‘s film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and we even know some of the fine details. For example, we’ve seen the early alien designs created by Rick Baker for the aborted project Night Skies. It’s obvious that some of those designs made their way to the stream of concepts that influenced ET when that film was born in the wake of Night Skies being scrapped.

Now we’ve got some rarely seen early ET concept art from Ed Verreaux, who worked with Spielberg as production illustrator starting on Raiders of the Lost Ark. The art by Verreaux shows more of the process of Night Skies alien designs being mutated into the friendly guy we know and love at the center of ET.

Empire has the concept art. Ed Verreaux originally studied under Chuck Jones, and in the early ’80s ended up working for Spielberg, on Raiders of the Lost Ark. That led to gigs on ET and Poltergeist (both post-Night Skies projects) as well as the rest of the Indiana Jones films and films like Empire of the Sun and the second and third Back to the Future movies.

Verreaux graduated to production designer, and held that post on both Jurassic Park III and the recently wrapped Jurassic World.

The artist was instrumental in creating an alien design that moved away from monstrous concepts and into expressive and ugly duckling ideas that ended up defining the character.

As Empire says, “Verreaux created a series of sketches that crystalise the various expressions and emotions the character would have to perform.”

See more at Empire, including some designs that look a lot closer to Rick Baker’s Night Skies work.

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