E.T. and Elliott reunite in a stunning ad that's like a sequel to the movie

He didn't just phone home, he came home.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

This Thanksgiving, E.T. did more than "phone home," he came home -- at least for a little while. The iconic extraterrestrial from Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit movie E.T. appeared in a new nostalgic Xfinity commercial shown Thursday. And at over four minutes long, it's a lot like a super-short sequel to the Oscar-winning movie.

The film brings E.T. back to Earth, where he shows up at the home of his old pal Elliott, played by a now-grown Henry Thomas, 37 years after the two met in the film. "A lot has changed since you were here," Elliott says, and that's an understatement.

E.T. meets Elliott's family and learns about Earth's new technology (showcasing Xfinity-powered products), including a freaky virtual-reality dinosaur game. Using a device of his own, E.T. shows his old pal an image of his own far-off family. And there are plenty of nods to the original film, including E.T. maintaining his love for Reese's Pieces, the flying bike scene, and Elliott's son wearing pajamas that look like those his dad wore in E.T. The ending, while a bit sad, is a sweet completion of the "holidays are for reuniting with family" theme that runs through the ad.

"The audience is going to get everything they want out of a sequel without the messy bits that could destroy the beauty of the original and the special place it has in people's minds and hearts," Thomas said in a statement. "It's really a win-win."

Fans seem to think so, too. In 16 hours, the YouTube version of the ad had been watched more than 1.8 million times.