Can there be an ‘Independence Day’ sequel without Will Smith playing the part of hero? Are viewers now nearly two decades removed from the Roland Emmerich/Dean Devlin alien invasion disaster spectacle and overdosing on the constant pay cable screening of same really ready for more? In fact, is there a place in the current pantheon of over the top eye candy action films for another example of mankind waging war with extraterrestrials for cosmic dominance? Well, Fox seems to think so. They have greenlit not one, but two additional films in this now fledgling franchise, and Emmerich will be back to guide them both.
According to Collider.com, the filmmaker famed for such hyperkinetic cinematic catastrophes as ’2012,’ ‘The Day After Tomorrow,’ and ‘Universal Soldier’ is coming back to the movie that made him a household name, and he’s only bringing Bill Pullman along with him. No, Smith will not be part of ‘Independence Day 2′ (possibly entitled ‘ID Forever Part 1,’ according to sources) and the plot will take place some 20 years after the events of the first film. Pullman will play the ex-President, and a group of younger actors will be the catalyst for the eventual return of the angry invaders – this time, with promised reinforcements. One imagines an all out intergalactic battle ensuing, especially given the hints that, in the new film, humans have harnessed the alien technology and are ready to fight back with their own flashy, futuristic weapons.
With the script currently getting a polish from Emmerich’s ‘White House Down‘ scribe James Vanderbilt, the studio has set a firm release date of…wait for it…July 3, 2015, which mimics the first film’s holiday-oriented drop. Fox is also hoping for a repeat at the box office, especially in light of ‘ID4”s $817 million international receipt tally. Without Will Smith, the final totals for Part Two may be less than stellar. Here’s hoping Emmerich can deliver.