Well, for now, anyway. Though word is, Will “Big Willie” Smith could still change his mind if the wind moves him.
But for now, it appears as if Smith has told the studio boys that he’s not interested in returning as the hotshot fighter pilot from Roland Emmerich’s 1996 alien invasion saga “Independence Day,” one of those movies that was a real crowd pleaser when it first opened (to the tune of $800 million worldwide, a huge sum in 1996 money).
Given the failure of Smith’s recent cinematic outing (show of hands, who saw “After Earth”?), you’d think he would quickly grapple onto a sure-thing like a pair of “Independence Day” sequels, similarly to how he came back for “Men in Black 3.” But nope. Deadline reports that the actor has passed, though hedges their bets by saying Smith has yet to meet with returning director Roland Emmerich, who could use a hit or two himself after the disastrous bomb of “White House Down” last year.
We’re told that there are two versions of two “ID4” sequels going around, one where Smith’s returning character is the central figure, and another one without him (likely using his character’s son, perhaps). Emmerich co-wrote the script with original writer Dean Devlin, with James Vanderbilt (the guy who also gave us “White House Down”) currently doing a polish on it.
So, an “Independence Day” without Will Smith? That seems like a pretty bad idea. The original “ID4” was fun times at the theater when it first opened, don’t get me wrong, but let’s face it, it doesn’t really hold up today. Plus, that whole “let’s give the alien a virus using our earth laptop” has been so thoroughly parodied and mocked (and deservedly so), how are they going to top that?
Fox currently has the first (of two) sequel scheduled for 2016, also the 20th anniversary of the first movie.