Steven Spielberg’s Biggest Regret Is George Lucas’s Fault

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

steven spielberg john williams

Inspired by George Lucas’s remastering of Star Wars: A New Hope, Steven Spielberg embarked on what would become one of his most regrettable endeavors: the decision to remaster E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, one of his finest films. In 2002, commemorating the 20th anniversary of E.T., Spielberg undertook the task of re-editing the beloved sci-fi family masterpiece. Little did he know, this initiative would lead to a series of alterations that would ultimately haunt him as one of his greatest missteps.

Fans Hated The Remastered E.T.

Those who follow the personal lives of Hollywood celebrities have long known that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are lifelong besties. The two celebrated directors have stayed in close contact with one another, collaborating and supporting each other’s works, since the 1970s. While some of their projects resulted in cinematic masterpieces—like their collaboration on the Indiana Jones franchise—others, like with the E.T. re-edit are considered some of Hollywood’s biggest blunders.

George Lucas pioneered the process of remastering older films for re-releases when he went through the process with A New Hope. Seeing how well that went for his friend, Steven Spielberg was excited to follow in his footsteps. Unlike the Star Wars film, the E.T. remaster backfired with fans accusing the director of downgrading the film by replacing guns with walkie-talkies, E.T. with CGI, and an overall style that didn’t match.

Spielberg Didn’t Enjoy His Buddy’s Luck

Steven Spielberg recalled the outcry from fans after releasing the re-master. Despite being a time before social media, the word of the downgrade spread like wildfire, with fans begging to know why the director had ruined their favorite childhood film. Meanwhile, George Lucas’s 1997 version of A New Hope was lauded.

He Bounced Back Quickly

tom cruise

Lucky for Steven Spielberg, he was already a big deal as a director and a little setback like a panned re-release had no effect on his career. Later that same year, he released the now classic Minority Report starring Tom Cruise and Catch Me If You Can starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Meanwhile, George Lucas also saw a major theatrical release with Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Spielberg is A Legend

Now, with a career spanning over five decades, Steven Spielberg has captivated audiences worldwide with his visionary storytelling and unparalleled directorial skill. He is celebrated for revolutionizing the film industry with iconic blockbusters such as Jaws, (the original cut of) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Jurassic Park, which not only shattered box office records but also set new standards for cinematic excellence. Funnily enough, George Lucas had a hand in each of Spielberg’s most famous features.


In addition to George Lucas inspiring Steven Spielberg to remaster E.T., the Star Wars director almost lost his head while on the set of Jaws. While visiting Spielberg on set, Lucas jokingly stuck his head inside the mechanical shark and was surprised when the machine malfunctioned, leaving the shark’s head clamped down on Lucas’s own. Meanwhile, as one of the three main writers of the script, it’s thanks to Lucas that Spielberg’s most famous franchise, Indiana Jones, ever made it to theaters. 

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