It must be tough to develop a major movie like the proposed sequel to Independence Day (which is commonly known by the unconfirmed title ID Forever), especially if you aren’t 100 per cent sure that your original film’s star (and biggest name) is going to get off the fence and sign up to appear, or not. In Roland Emmerich‘s case the solution is clear, you write two scripts: one featuring Will Smith‘s character, and one that doesn’t.
In a recent interview with The Playlist while promoting his latest movie White House Down, Emmerich says that progress is good on the long in the works sequel, so good that he may not even need Smith if the actor decides to take a pass at reprising his fighter pilot character from the original film. James Vanderbilt has written “two versions” of the script as insurance, but the director is pretty confident that Smith is going to see the light and suit up to kick alien butt again.
More generally, Emmerich says that the project is “a daily battle … The budget, the schedules, the actors … [but] it’s looking good.”
Emmerich also commented on the matter of making back-to-back Independence Days, and says that he decided against it on the basis of not wanting to wallow too long in revisiting the ID4 universe. “I thought about spending four years of my life on one movie and I didn’t want to turn into something from the movie,” he said. “It’s a movie about aliens, I don’t want to turn into an alien.”
Not sure what he means by that, but maybe it sounds worse in Emmerich’s native German.
Independence Day 2 is currently pencilled in for a July 3, 2015 release, with or without Will Smith. More news as it develops.