In the late 70s, following Close Encounters, Columbia really wanted a sequel. Spielberg didn’t want to do one, and most fans of the beard know about his lost alien horror movie Night Skies. This movie would’ve been more “Poltergeist” than “Close Encounters”, but it would never end up happing.
Still, prototypes for the aliens were done and if you look at these you can see where some of the inspiration for E.T. came from.
Rick Baker tweeted out these images of his prototypes for the Night Skies aliens over the weekend with descriptions of what each one is. For details, check out his Twitter feed.