The idea of an Independence Day sequel has changed a few times. Originally there were reports of multiple sequels, while director Roland Emmerich tried to get Will Smith to return. When that didn’t happen, he wrote a scenario in which Captain Steve Hiller died during a test flight of new alien technology. What ended up in the final cut of Independence Day: Resurgence is a story about a team of young individuals fighting a new wave of alien invaders using alien tech recovered from the first, but things could have been a bit too peaceful for a summer action blockbuster.
During a stint as guest editor for Empire magazine, Emmerich answered fan questions and revealed an early concept for the sequel.
It was after 9/11 and [producer] Dean [Devlin] and I wanted to make the movie about peace, and it just didn’t work. There’s still an element of that in the new one, but that version was only about that. We shoot aliens down accidentally and then at the end of the movie they land on the White House lawn and say “we come in peace” and that was it. It was just too weak an idea and we didn’t really want to do it. It didn’t have an Independence Day feel. Only the alien ship was destroyed!
Resurgence, to be released on June 24, features Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, Judd Hirsch, Maika Monroe, Joey King, Liam Hemsworth, William Fichtner, Jessie T. Usher, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Sela Ward. Elsewhere in the Q&A, Emmerich added that he didn’t plan on making a sequel, but the studio continuously asked him to make one. He answered in part:
I always felt that Independence Day was a standalone film. But over the years I realized how iconic the film had become for people and I was repeatedly asked by [20th Century] Fox to do it. What really did it was just how amazing film technology is these days and how restricted I felt in ’95/’96 when I did the original one. But it’s not a traditional sequel.
We’ll see if the plan for another sequel after this one comes to fruition. But, first things first, the box office numbers have to be strong.