Roland Emmerich explains why Will Smith is not in Independence Day: Resurgence

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Jun 24, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT (Updated)

With all the hoopla surrounding this week's rollout of information about Independence Day: Resurgence, one question still had to be answered.

At a press event held for the 2016 sequel earlier this week, we learned the title, heard from director Roland Emmerich and the cast and got to check out some cool images and designs from the movie. But there was still one rather large issue to address: Why was Will Smith -- who became a major movie star with his role in the 1996 original -- not appearing in the followup?

According to Cinemablend, Emmerich was ready with the answer: He said that although Smith was initially eager to come back as fighter pilot Steven Hiller, the actor began to have second thoughts about the movie's proposed father-son relationship with Hiller's son Dylan (Jessie Usher):

"In the very beginning, I wanted to work with him and he was excited to be in it but then after a while he was tired of sequels, and he did another science fiction film, which was his father-son story, so he opted out."

That other sci-fi film was After Earth, in which Smith and his real-life son Jaden played ... a father and son. Since that was also one of the bigger box-office busts of its year, perhaps Will was leery of going down that road again.

But even though Smith is going to be absent, Independence Day: Resurgence will feature returning cast members Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner and Vivica A. Fox, along with new recruits Liam Hemsworth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Maika Monroe and William Fichtner. Do you think Smith will be missed?