If you’re thinking that an Independence Day sequel needs the participation of star Will Smith in order to be made, think again.
Speaking with The Playlist, director Roland Emmerich gave an update on the sequel to the hit 1996 alien invasion blockbuster and stated that he is prepared to move forward regardless of whether Smith would be returning to the role that helped launch his career into the stratosphere or not by admitting that he has “two versions” of the screenplay, one which includes Smith and one which doesn’t. He also stated that “It’s looking good [for the version with Smith].” It was reported last month that Smith was already in early talks to appear in the film.
Last year at this time it was reported that studio Sony would be going forward on the project with or without Smith’s participation, and this news bares that out.
Both versions have been written by James Vanderbilt, who also wrote Emmerich’s recent White House Down, though it isn’t readily clear as to whether they have the same storyline or are two separate stories. But if they are two separate stories, he might not want to ultimately make both. Responding to a question about reports that he had been developing a pair of sequels that told one big story, he stated that the plan now was to do just one film.
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.
Of course, there are a number of scenarios in which both scripts could still get made, so we’ll just have to see how things ultimately shake out.
And as for Smith’s participation, I can certainly see shy he would want to return to a film that was so important to his career, especially after the string of box office duds he’s had over the last couple of years. But have those duds ultimately soured ticket buyers on Smith or will the novelty of seeing him back fighting aliens like he did almost two decades earlier be enough to get them to line up at the box office?