When Will Smith, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, made the jump from the small screen to the big one, three movies really cemented his place as a main event player: ‘Bad Boys’, ‘Men In Black’, and ‘Independence Day’. So naturally, when talks about a pair of sequels for the 1996 alien invasion film emerged, many hoped that the star would return to reprise his role as Captain Steve Hiller. But just in case, director Ronald Emmerich said that work on the new films would continue with or without Smith’s involvement. Now, after it was revealed last week that the studio had scheduled only one sequel (for now?), the filmmaker reveals that the final verdict is that they’ll be moving on without him.
While doing the rounds for his upcoming film ‘White House Down’, Emmerich spoke to The NY Daily News about why Smith isn’t coming back for ‘Independence Day 2’, which was once known as ‘ID Forever Part I’, as well as the possibility of others returning:
“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 would know from the first film (in the script) and the other half people who are new.”
I don’t know how being a “marquee name” is a bad thing for a franchise that’s being resurrected after a nearly 20-year absence, but being too expensive is a legitimate concern. If 20th Century Fox won’t dish out the money for a big name like Will Smith, then there’s not really much that the production can do about it. It’s still very disappointing, but that’s just how the business works.
Among those rumored to return are Bill Pullman, who will play the former POTUS Thomas J. Whitmore, and Jeff Goldblum, the smart-talking MIT grad who first discovers the alien transmission talking of an attack, but those are only two of the players. If “half of the people” are supposed to return, then I wonder who else the director was speaking of. Definitely not Randy Quaid, but maybe Adam Baldwin, Vivica A. Fox, Harry Connick Jr., and Harvey Fierstein would consider making comebacks.
How disappointed are you that Will Smith won’t be returning for ‘Independence Day 2’? Do you think that he’s making the right choice by not taking part? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
‘Independence Day 2’ is currently scheduled to be released on July 3, 2015.