Roland Emmerich Says They’re Only Focusing on One INDEPENDENCE DAY Sequel for Now; Confirms Will Smith Won’t Return

     June 23, 2013

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While there had been renewed talk about a potential sequel to director Roland Emmerich’s 1996 over the past few years, the director started speaking pretty seriously about the prospect of a follow-up last year.  Fox finally solidified the project just the other day by announcing a July 3, 2015 release date for Independence Day 2, and now we’ve got a whole new film’s worth of alien invasion to look forward to.  When Emmerich first started talking more seriously about an Independence Day follow-up, he revealed that he and co-writer/producer Dean Devlin were penning not one but two sequels.  A couple of months ago, the director said that both films will take place 20 years after the original and Part 1 will end with a cliffhanger that leads directly into Part 2, but it appears that the second sequel may no longer be a foregone conclusion.

Steve recently spoke with Emmerich at the press day for his upcoming actioner White House Down, and the director talked briefly about the Independence Day sequel, confirming that it is likely his next film and revealing that they’re only focusing on doing one sequel for the time being.  The filmmaker also reiterated that Will Smith will not be returning.  Hit the jump for more.

independence-day-2-sequelWith Independence Day 2 now set for release in 2015, it would appear that the film will be Emmerich’s next project.  Steve asked the director if that was true, to which he responded “So far, yes.”  However, when asked if the plan was still to make two sequels, the director said:

“I think they decided to only do one first.”

While Emmerich and Devlin do indeed seem to have mapped out a two-film story arc, the director’s use of the word “they” sounds like Fox wants to see how well Independence Day 2 does first before giving the greenlight to a further sequel, which is understandable.  After all, it’s been two decades since the first film hit theaters.

Throughout the numerous ups and downs of Independence Day 2‘s development over the past 20 years, the prospect of the film coming to fruition always seemed to hinge on the involvement of Will Smith.  Independence Day marked Smith’s very first “blockbuster” film and, combined with the success of his previous film Bad Boys and his ID4 follow-up Men in Black, the sci-fi pic was integral to turning him into the mega star that he is today.  Nevertheless, the actor has been reluctant to return to the world of Independence Day for a sequel, and a few years ago Emmerich went so far as to say that the follow-up wouldn’t happen unless Smith eventually agreed to star.

independence-day-2-sequel-will-smithBack in 2011, though, word surfaced that Fox was planning on moving forward with Independence Day sequels with or without Smith onboard, and now Emmerich has confirmed to NY Daily News that Smith will not be appearing in the follow-up:

“Will Smith cannot come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name. It would be too much. We have like maybe half of the people that you know would know from the first film [in the script] and the other half people who are new.”

Watch the portion of Steve’s interview with Emmerich regarding Independence Day 2 below, and look for the full conversation on Collider soon.

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