We already knew Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin were looking to make a sequel to their 1990s sci-fi hit Independence Day, but the big question was whether Will Smith would be back. Now we know.
Deadline is reporting that, after going back and forth on potentially returning to the franchise that made him a legit action star, Smith has decided to pass on the alien-battling sequel. Though Smith is apparently out, the sequel is still expected to move forward with the studio’s full backing.
When word first broke about the project, it sounded like Devlin and Emmerich were working on two potential versions of the script, and now it seems like they’ll just move forward with the Smith-less draft. According to the report, Fox is “very keen” to make the movie, regardless of whether Smith returns or not.
The sequel is still set to debut around July 4, 2016, which would mark the 20th anniversary of the first film. Considering that it grossed $811 million worldwide in 1996, it makes sense that the studio sees it as a sound option with or without Smith. Nostalgia is high currency these days, and for a decades-old one-off, Independence Day still has a good bit of name recognition.
What makes a bit less sense is the fact that Smith has actually declined. In the wake of the massive flop After Earth, you’d think he’d be a bit more open to a bankable project that would likely return him to box-office glory. Of course, the dude is already a bazillionaire, so he can pretty much do whatever he wants.
What do you think? Would you prefer Will Smith back in the driver’s seat of that alien fighter, or some fresh blood?