The E.T. Easter Egg You Forgot About In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

If I was a filmmaker worth billions of dollars, and if everything I touched turned into a smash-hit, I wouldn't take myself too seriously either. There's certainly more to life than creating the highest-grossing films of all time, and in a way, blockbuster BFFs George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have proven just that. Their lifelong friendship has shaped cinema as we know it, and they've never been shy in acknowledging that fact. Since Spielberg first triumphed with "Jaws" in 1975, the filmmakers have made a fun game of their loosely-connected filmography.

Spielberg was the first to nod to Lucas with a "Star Wars" reference in "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." One Halloween night, E.T. encounters a child dressed in a Yoda costume, and famously runs after him yelling "Home! Home!" Alone, the scene serves as a simple gag, but Lucas took it a step further with his own Easter egg in "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" — and it adds an entirely new bit of context to the aliens of both films.

A Long Time Ago...

Lucas and Spielberg's tête-à-tête culminated with the appearance of E.T.'s pals in "The Phantom Menace." The first installment of the prequels features the aliens in one crucial Senate scene, when Best Girl Padmé Amidala addresses the annexation of her planet Naboo. The queen, fed up with the senate's inaction, moves for a vote of no confidence for the current chancellor, creating a schism in the council chambers.

It's a big moment for the Senate — and the whole galaxy, as this is just one of the countless moments that then-senator Palpatine orchestrates himself. But it's all a tad overshadowed by the little E.T. senators shown joining in on the protests.

The non-canonical Star Wars novel "Cloak of Deception" confirmed that the aliens hailed from the planet Brodo Asogi, and identified their leader as Senator Grebleips — which is "Spielberg" spelled backwards. Brodo Asogi has one another notable appearance in "E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet," which was released as a companion novel for "E.T." in 1985.

...In a Galaxy Not So Far Away?

On paper, these are just the spoils of a fun game between two filmmakers. But it goes without saying that, when you're responsible for shaping as many childhoods as Lucas and Spielberg have, nothing is "just fun," especially not to the fandoms they also helped create. The Asogians' appearance in "Phantom Menace” has encouraged countless theories. While some suggest that E.T. is, in fact, force sensitive — how else did the bikes fly?! — others are using the Easter egg to connect Earth to that galaxy far, far away.

Though our own world has never been linked to Star Wars' by anything concrete, it's possible that E.T. serves as the bridge between the two. Sure, these fictional events happened a long time ago, but if E.T. eventually reached us on Earth, who's to say that Earthlings can't reach right back?

Grounding Lucas' space opera with a connection to our galaxy might take a bit away from its mystique, particularly when it comes to the franchise's infamous opening title. "A long time ago..." is essentially a spin on "Once upon a time..." which makes "Star Wars" a fairytale of sorts.

It's pretty clear that neither Lucas nor Spielberg considered the very-meta implications that their tradition would leave behind. Lucas has since retired from filmmaking, which put an end to the running gag. But given the fandom's love for reading between the lines, and the way others piled onto the E.T. reference in other properties, that may not be the last we hear of it.