Dr. Seuss Inspired E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL Concept Art by Ralph McQuarrie

Check out E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial concept art by Ralph McQuarrie!

Every Friday I feature artwork from a classic of science fiction cinema. This week's "Flashback Friday" post is on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

The late artist Ralph McQuarrie worked on dozens of classic films, but there's one film that he only worked on briefly. His only lasting contribution to E.T. is the mothership, but it's brilliant.

McQuarrie was a professional illustrator who worked on Hollywood films like Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and

Check out the rest of the images after the jump (click to enlarge).

McQuarrie said on his site RalphMcQuarrie.com(now DreamsandVisionsPress.com), "Steven (Spielberg) had a requirement for a space ship for E.T. He was at ILM one day and I talked with him for about five minutes - he said he would like to have ET’s space ship to look like Dr. Suess designed it. I thought that was kind of interesting, very off the wall.

"I made about five or six sketches of space ships for it. He looked at them and picked one out and I made a painting of it. They built the model at ILM and looked almost exactly like the painting with all the features and the retractable lights, it was amazing. They did a beautiful job.

"I suggested that it take off with a sort blue flame as it lifted into the evening sky, that it be very quiet, then a sound of a jet in the distance would come in as it disappeared. They did all that I think."

 Here's what it looks like in the final film.

He also did some designs for the alien which I can't find anywhere.

Here's what he said about them. McQuarrie said, "Steven asked me to do some concepts of E.T. Carlo Rambaldihad sculpted what was really E.T., but Steven was tweaking little wrinkles. He had me making sketches of E.T.’s, and I made a whole lot of off the wall E.T.'s, but Rabaldi’s version stood out. Steven just wanted to get another opinion so to say, which I gave."

See more of Ralph McQuarrie's work on the film at RalphMcQuarrie.com.

Click on the links if you want to see more of Ralph McQuarrie's work and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on my blog.

What do you think of the concept art? If you've seen E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial what did you think?

Official E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Synopsis
Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit about a stranded alien and his loving relationship with a fatherless boy (Henry Thomas) struck a chord with audiences everywhere, and it furthered Spielberg's reputation as a director of equally strong commercial sensibilities and classical leanings. Henry Thomas gives a strong, emotional performance as E.T.'s young friend, Robert MacNaughton and Drew Barrymore make a solid impression as his siblings, and Dee Wallace is lively as the kids' mother. The special effects almost look a bit quaint now with all the computer advancements that have occurred since, but they also have more heart behind them than a lot of what we see today.

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Production Design by James D. Bissell
Starring Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore

Release date: June 11, 1982

Official Site: et20.com

Copyright © 1982 Amblin Entertainment, Universal Pictures. All rights reserved


  1. I never realized how much of an influence Dr. Suess had on the ship design. Now that I know, it makes it that much cooler!

  2. I love that Dr. Seuss influenced the ship design. I agree that it makes it that much cooler!!!

  3. Dr. Seuss inspired! I missed that in the movie but I can see it now.


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