It’s been years since the original blockbuster film Independence Day smashed the box-office. As time has shown, the film has held up pretty well over the years, even in the face of huge technical advance films such as Avatar or even Pacific Rim. That said, audiences still love their Independence Day, so of course it means it’s time to consider a sequel.
The idea of revisiting ID4 has strongly been tossed around for a long time. Just like Ghostbusters and Bill Murray, the one thing that keeps a sequel to Independence Day from happening is Will Smith. The studio wants him, but Will Smith is skeptical to say yes.
Indiewire caught up with the original director Roland Emmerich to see how progress was going on the new film, to which he conveyed his frustrations saying it’s, “a daily battle … The budget, the schedules, the actors … ” however, promising that the film as a whole, “It’s looking good.” When asked about Smith possibly returning, the director acted a little more stand-offish according to the site. That’s until he revealed that James Vanderbilt has two versions of the movie ready to roll. One that includes Will Smith, and one that does not. Emmerich enthusiastically suggest though, “It’s looking good [for the version with Smith].”
Word of two movies has also circled over the past year, saying the next movie would be broken up into two epic parts. Emmerich completely debunked the possibility explaining, “I thought about spending four years of my life on one movie and I didn’t want to turn into something from the movie. It’s a movie about aliens, I don’t want to turn into an alien.”
As I’ve said in the past, I think manipulating the story to tailor to a star’s needs is a bad way to get this ball rolling. Smith himself is no longer willing to be a character actor, which he proved in the story several months ago about why he turned down Django Unchained. Here is that quote from back in March, “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!” Then here comes spoilers for Django Unchained, “I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!”
Will Smith was a character actor in Independence Day, not the lead. The series should remain faithful to its roots and focus on making the best character driven sequel possible. If Will Smith doesn’t like it, he can go back and make After Earth 2. I’m sure M. Night Shaymalan needs the work.
What do you think? Would you see Independence Day 2 without Will Smith? Is Will Smith to stubborn to not be a leading man in this sequel?