Roland Emmerich Says No Will Smith for Independence Day Sequel

Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day (1996) Movie Image

While you would think an “Independence Day” sequel sans Will Smith is not much of a sequel at all, apparently director Roland Emmerich and Fox think differently. The studio has already scheduled the sequel (one of a two-partner, if all goes well) for 2015, while Emmerich is going on record as saying that Will Smith, who became a huge star thanks to the first movie, won’t be returning for the sequel.

According to Emmerich, the reason why Smith isn’t returning is because he’s currently “too expensive” for the production. The director tells the NY Daily News while out promoting his upcoming actioner “White House Down”:

Will Smith can not come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name. It would be too much. We have like maybe half of the people that you know would know from the first film (in the script) and the other half people who are new.

Roland Emmerich on the set of The Day After Tomorrow (2004) Movie ImageWhen asked if this would be a reboot, Emmerich answered:

We’re not doing a total reboot, we’re doing something that’s totally unusual.

Emmerich has already said that the sequel (or sequels) would take place 20 years after the first movie, with humanity now using alien tech to building a defense against the invading alien horde, who are on their way back for a second invasion. If that’s where the sequel is going, I don’t know how “unusual” that type of plot is. Sounds pretty straightforward to me, but what do I know.

James Vanderbilt, who famously sold “White House Down” for a ton of money (and also wrote “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboot), is currently doing a polish on the script by Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the two men behind the first movie.

I don’t get Emmerich’s reasoning behind why Smith isn’t going back. I get the “too expensive” part (that’s one of those things that studios usually work out with actors, especially on something as potentially can’t-miss like an “ID4” sequel), but the “he’s too much of a marquee name” part is kind of, well, odd. That’s the point, isn’t it? Selling the marquee name? We’re not talking about “Citizen Kane” here. We’re talking a slam-bang summer alien invasion flick. Don’t you need a marquee name for something like that?

In any case, “Independence Day 2”, which may or may not end up being called “D Forever Part I” (wow), is set to open July 3, 2015, with or without Will Smith.

But I gotta say, if Smith isn’t in the sequel, who is going to give us this type of crowd-pleasing scene?