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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.

  • 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

    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.

  • The Asogians Make It Into The Canon Via The Marvel Comics, As Well

    In Star Wars 89: I'll See You in the Throne Room, there is a character named Braxas, who looks vaguely like E.T. and eats with utensils similar to chopsticks. Taken in conjunction with what Peña revealed in his novella, it becomes canon that Braxas is Asogian, as it's clear the "grub-sticks" referred to in the short story are those used by Braxas. Braxas actually interacted with Luke Skywalker at one point in the comics, hiring him as a pilot to help him escape Solay after the planet was captured by the Empire.

  • George Lucas Was Returning The Favor With The E.T. Cameo In The Phantom Menace

    For including Star Wars references in E.T., Lucas promised Spielberg he would return the favor by paying homage to E.T. in his next installment. However, there wasn't another Star Wars movie for nearly two decades. In the end, though, Lucas made good on his promise, and fans were delighted to see E.T.'s people show up in The Phantom Menace.