In the 1970s, director Steven Spielberg started pre-production on a follow-up to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind called Night Skies. He hired legendary special effects artist Rick Baker to create a prototype of the film's menacing alien, and by all accounts, it was going to be spectacular.
Then, as is often the case in Hollywood, the whole project fell apart, and the film entered that strange cinema limbo of amazing movies that never were. Many of the designs were later used in Spielberg's alien masterpiece E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in 1982, but the menacing alien was never seen ...until now!
Starting on Thursday, May 22, Baker began tweeting out images of the many different animatronic creatures he had created for the film. From terrifying visages of violent aliens to the building blocks that clearly developed into the lovable E.T., these are the first looks at the aliens that would never make it to the screen in their original form.
As requested The Night Skies alien. Not finished, no eyes. Cover the top of his head and tell me who he looks like. pic.twitter.com/r3PxK1T98A— Rick Baker (@TheRickBaker) May 22, 2014
He does look like Edward G and the others.But painting out the top of the head, adding eyes,and small tweaks.ET"S dad pic.twitter.com/XOdbSNDmAd— Rick Baker (@TheRickBaker) May 23, 2014
Here was a quick clay sketch that I did in 1980 for one of the nicer younger NIGHT Skies aliens pic.twitter.com/NKHVXrGNLu— Rick Baker (@TheRickBaker) May 23, 2014
Happy days sculpting the prototype arms for the Night Skies alien back in 1980 pic.twitter.com/x2z2ftL1ll— Rick Baker (@TheRickBaker) May 24, 2014
Unhappy days,film shut down. I wanted to change the body of the ET,the mantis like arm placement just didn't work imo pic.twitter.com/mNMEAP9yem— Rick Baker (@TheRickBaker) May 26, 2014
Rick Baker may not be a name you immediately recognize, but it is almost a certainty that you have seen his work. Baker is an iconic makeup and special effects artist, who has won seven Oscars out of an astounding 12 nominations and is responsible for some of the scariest monsters and creatures ever seen on screen.
Steven Spielberg is a name that most know as he's one of the most revered directors of his time. In the late 1970s he already one of Hollywood's hottest young directors. He created his first major blockbuster, Jaws, in 1975, and in 1977 released the acclaimed Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
The producers wanted a Close Encounters sequel and from there, the ill-fated Night Skies was conceived. Spielberg created a film treatment that was a "based on a true story" tale about the Hopkinsville Alien Encounter. It would've revolved around a family living on a farm in Kentucky that is terrorized by a race of evil aliens.
As Spielberg developed the project, he began to want to get away from the idea of "evil" creatures from the sky, and return to the benevolent visitors that existed in Close Encounters. Taking one element from the Night Skies script, in which a small child befriends one of the innocent and sweet aliens lurking about the farm, Spielberg went on to create E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
E.T. was the highest-grossing movie of all time for over a decade until it was surpassed in 1993 by Spielberg's dinosaur thriller Jurassic Park.