Why Does E.T. Make A Cameo In Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace?

There are obviously a lot of aliens that show up in Star Wars movies - that's kinda the whole point. But one species in particular raised some eyebrows when they popped up in the corner of the screen in Episode I, and those are the fellows of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Why does E.T. appear in The Phantom Menace, though? Well, it's an interesting story that starts with Steven Spielberg. 

Beyond that lies an even more pertinent question: is E.T. in the Star Wars universe? That question is a bit more complicated, but the short answer is almost certainly yes. While The Phantom Menace was far from the greatest installment in the series (it actually wasn't all bad), it did give us this unique and fun cameo that has opened up a whole universe of questions.

Let's take a look at what E.T. was doing in The Phantom Menace and what his place in the broader Star Wars universe looks like.

  • Three E.T.s, Or "Asogians," Are Seen In The Galactic Senate

    Three E.T.s, Or "Asogians," Are Seen In The Galactic Senate
    Photo: LucasFilm

    Not just one, but three E.T.-lookalikes appeared on screen in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. On Coruscant, Amidala makes a plea to the Galactic Senate, and it is here that, among the many species represented, we first got a glimpse of E.T.'s people in the Star Wars universe. At the time, fans didn't know what to call these beings other than E.T.s, but a companion novel to the film would soon rectify that issue.

  • The Lead Asogian Is Named Grebleips, Or Spielberg Spelled Backward

    The Lead Asogian Is Named Grebleips, Or Spielberg Spelled Backward
    Photo: LucasFilm

    In Cloak of Deception, the name of one of the Asogians is revealed to be Greblieps, and he is indeed the leader of the people, or at least the one in charge of the delegation present at the Galactic Senate. His name is Spielberg spelled backwards, doubling down on the repayment for the nod to Star Wars in E.T. Grebleips is actually arrested in the novel for treason and conspiracy against Palpatine, which are of course trumped up charges.

  • Grepliebs Apparently Ordered E.T. To Earth

    According to HoloNet News, Grebleips funded an extra-galactic survey. Two things can be inferred from this: E.T. came to Earth as part of this survey, and Brodo Asogi is not in the Milky Way Galaxy. At least, it is generally accepted in the Star Wars canon that this survey indeed refers to E.T. and his coming to Earth. What may or may not be canon is E.T.'s name, Zrek, which was revealed in the never produced sequel to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

  • There Was An Homage To Star Wars In E.T. First

    While the E.T.s in The Phantom Menace might be more memorable, the Spielberg and Lucas crossovers actually began in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. During the trick-or-treating scene, E.T. sees a kid in a Yoda costume and tries to follow him, saying, "Home. Home. Home." John Williams even included some of Yoda's music from Star Wars when the two met in this scene. What's more, there are numerous Star Wars toys visible in Elliot's room.

  • The Asogians Are From A Planet Called Brodo Asogi

    The Asogians Are From A Planet Called Brodo Asogi
    Photo: James Luceno / Amazon

    In the 2001 novel Cloak of Deception by James Luceno, more is revealed about E.T.'s place in the Star Wars universe. E.T. and his people are from a planet known as Brodo Asogi, hence the name Asogians; it's a name given to them as opposed to one they identify as - at least there's no explicit evidence that they identify themselves as such. The planet rests in the Perinn sector of the Outer Rim Territories and translates to "Green Planet." This seems to be the essence of their identity.

  • The Asogians Are Referred To Again In A Star Wars Novella

    The Asogians Are Referred To Again In A Star Wars Novella
    Photo: Abel G. Pena / Goodreads

    In SkyeWalkers: A Clone Wars Story, a novella by Abel G. Peña, there is a reference to "a pair of Asogian grub-sticks." This was one of the first instances in which this species was actually referred to as Asogians. Moreover, this scene was referring to a character from the Star Wars Marvel comics, further deepening the lore of the Asogians in the Star Wars universe.