There’s been talk of Independence Day 2 damn near since the first one was released in 1996 and became a massive hit. After tons of false starts, rumored script battles, and casting troubles, it appears that things are finally moving forward. There’s even a June 24, 2016 release date scheduled that will get the movie into theaters just in time for the Fourth of July weekend they ruled 20 years before. Producer Dean Devlin has been discussing the project, and recently shared some information about why they’re only shooting one movie this time out, what the star and script situations looks like, and even touched on the Stargate reboot with director Roland Emmerich.
The original plan was to film Independence Day 2 and Independence Day 3 back-to-back. That was the idea for years, even before it was the thing that everyone did, but as it turns out, they’re going to take the future of the franchise one movie at a time. This move makes sense, as popular as the first film was, it’s been a long time, and Devlin, Emmerich, and company want to make sure there’s still public interest before diving in. Devlin said:
We decided just to do one first to make sure that people like where we’re going. If that works well, there’s an ability to do some world building, which would be really fun and interesting to do. I think Roland and everybody felt, let’s just make sure 20 years later that people still are interested. I think in our case, we started to feel that maybe we were being a little bit arrogant by assuming that we could do two movies. We said you know what, let’s scale it down. Let’s first make sure that it works for everyone.
While the sequel is definitely happening, it will be minus one major star. While Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman are reportedly on board for Independence Day 2, Will Smith is not going to be back for another turn as the brash pilot Steve Hiller. Devlin addressed this, saying:
I’m not sure of the reasons why Will ultimately decided not to do it. You’d have to ask him. I think he was just at a place where he did seriously consider it. We had a lot of meetings with him, but at the end of the day he decided that doing this wasn’t right for him.
There have been reports of two versions of the script, one written with Smith in the starring role, and another to be used in the event that he passed. Devlin said, “He [Emmerich] developed a new script with a couple young writers and the new script is fantastic. We’re very excited about shooting.” Given the progress and the timeline, we should start hearing news about casting and production before too awful long.
As cool as this report about Independence Day 2 is, it comes with a touch of bad news as well. With all of this momentum going on this picture, it means that we’re going to have to wait a while longer to see another, the proposed Stargate reboot. Devlin said, “Unfortunately, we have to wait until we finish Independence Day for that. Roland wants to direct that one too. Hopefully we go into that right afterwards.”
This Stargate revamp is a massive undertaking in its own right, as they envision a new trilogy, one kicking off with a remake of the 1994 original (who are they going to find to take the place of Kurt Russell and James Spader?) and moving on from there. While Emmerich definitely wants to helm the first of these, Devlin isn’t sure about all of them, saying, “I don’t know if he wants to do all three but he definitely would like to do the first one.”