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SYFY WIRE Independence Day

Vivica A. Fox Thinks Independence Day: Resurgence "Missed Out" By Killing Off Will Smith's Character

"I just didn’t feel like it was good and lived up to the first one."

By Josh Weiss
Actress Vivica A. Fox points

With close to a decade of hindsight between herself and the wide theatrical release of Independence Day: Resurgence, actress Vivica A. Fox is now getting candid about the 2016 sequel that failed to match the dizzying box office heights of its 1996 predecessor.

Sitting down with The A.V. Club for a look back at a number of career highlights, Fox attributed Resurgence's missteps to the decision of killing off Will Smith's character, Captain Steven Hiller (Smith was busy shooting Suicide Squad at the time and could not return).

"I just didn’t feel like it was good and lived up to the first one," she admitted. "I really feel we missed out by not bringing Will Smith back. We got most of the original cast on, but I think the one true link that missing to the success of Independence Day 2 was that Will Smith wasn’t there. I’m gonna keep it real, I was at the premiere and was like, ‘Mmm...let’s see how the fans are gonna feel about this.’ And sure enough, on Twitter, they blew me up.”

RELATED: Forget aliens, Bill Pullman’s 'Independence Day' president is back to help save us from the pandemic

Why did the Independence Day sequel flop?

Roland Emmerich, who directed and co-wrote the movie, also regretted Smith's absence, which forced a major rewrite of the screenplay. "I should have stopped making the movie because we had a much better script, then I had to really fast, cobble another script together," he said in 2019.

During an interview with Yahoo! this year, Independence Day co-creator Dean Devlin revealed the scrapped plans for a two-part sequel that would have brought a wealthy and famous Captain Hiller out of retirement to kick more extra-terrestrial booty.

While Smith purportedly loved the script, he ultimately decided to pass on it. Devlin seemed to cast doubt on the Suicide Squad narrative by surmising that the actor may have "felt a little burned" by the sci-fi genre following After Earth.

Resurgence, of course, did set the table for a third entry — one in which humanity brings the fight to the aliens' home-world — but a lackluster box office draw of $389 million worldwide against a costly budget of $165 million (by comparison, the first movie made almost $1 billion globally on a budget of less than $100 million) put the kibosh on a continuation of the franchise.

Even so, we hope you'll consider giving Independence Day: Resurgence another chance this evening when the film airs on SYFY at 7:59 p.m. EST and then again at 10:29 p.m. EST. Click here for complete Fourth of July programming details, and check the further SYFY calendar to catch the ID4 sequel throughout the summer.

Want more genre escapades from Emmerich and Devlin? The complete first season of Devlin's new SYFY series, The Ark, is now streaming on Peacock (it was renewed for a sophomore outing back in April). Emmerich, meanwhile, is currently in production on a forthcoming gladiator series, Those About to Die, which will star two-time Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins.