Legendary special effects artist Rick Baker has released a collection of alien concept designs for a sci-fi film Steven Spielberg was looking to make in the '80s called Night Skies.
After Spielberg made Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Columbia Pictures wanted to make a sequel. The director wasn't interested in making a sequel though, so the studio was thinking of moving forward with the movie without him. Spielberg was basically like "screw that," so he started developing a dark horror themed sci-fi alien movie called Watch the Skies, which was eventually changed to Night Skies.
The movie was written by John Sayles, and Baker was brought on board to design all of the alone concepts. The film production eventually fell apart and the movie never got made. Baker all of a sudden just started posting photos and images of his designs on Twitter, and they are really cool to see. What's interesting about them is the fact that several of these ideas ended up being used in films such as E.T., Poltergeist, and Gremlins. In fact, there was a theater marquee used in Gremlins that even advertised a movie called Watch the Skies.
While Baker was creating these designs, Spielberg was directing Raiders of the Lost Ark. While the director was making that film that he decided to make something less dark. This is what Spielberg had to say about that experience of changing his mind.
"I might have taken leave of my senses. Throughout [the production of] Raiders, I was in between killing Nazis and blowing up flying wings and having Harrison Ford in all this high serialized adventure, I was sitting there in the middle of Tunisia, scratching my head and saying, ‘I’ve got to get back to the tranquillity, or at least the spirituality, of Close Encounters.’”
Spielberg ended up reading the script to Night Skies to Melissa Mathison, and she went on to write the script for E.T.
Here's the caption that came along with the photo above:
"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"
"As requested The Night Skies alien. Not finished, no eyes. Cover the top of his head and tell me who he looks like."
"Here was a quick clay sketch that I did in 1980 for one of the nicer younger NIGHT Skies aliens."
"Unhappy days,film shut down. I wanted to change the body of the ET,the mantis like arm placement just didn't work imo."
"Happy days sculpting the prototype arms for the Night Skies alien back in 1980."