20th Century Fox is moving the release date for the first of its 2 announced Independence Day sequels back a year, from July 3, 2015, to July 1, 2016, which would be almost exactly 20 years since the first film's July 3, 1996 theatrical debut.
A move of a few months is typical, but an entire year isn't.
Our last post on this was in September, when it was rumored that Michael B. Jordan was in contention for "a major role" in Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day sequels. Emmerich is said to have met with several upstarts, and Jordan was on his short list for the Fox project, although no offer had been made at the time. But Jordan is/was definitely interested.
As for Will Smith, it doesn't look like he'll be returning, and will indeed sit out the next 2 films, paving the way for Jordan (or someone else) to take over for him; or whether Jordan (or someone else) will play his son, in a handing-off of the baton.
Will Smith's unlikely return is because he's "too expensive," according to director Emmerich.
It was previously reported, about a year ago, that Fox wasn't at all against going ahead with both films without Will, if they decided that his demands were too steep.
What demands? Most significantly, Big Willie reportedly asked for $50 million to appear in both films, and Fox balked at the idea. There was also talk of Poppa Smith wanting to include his wife and kids in the movie (said New York magazine).
However, Emmerich did also say that the sequels would be "a bit like the sons takeover," meaning maybe Will Smith wasn't expected to be part of the sequels in the first place - at least, not in any meaningful way - and the story-lines for each film will instead focus on a new generation of human heroes, including Will Smith's character's eventual stepson (Vivica Fox's kid) in ID4 (who was played by Ross Bagley, now 24 years old).
Michael B. Jordan is 26, and looks his age, so he'd be perfect, assuming Emmerich will go ahead with the "sons takeover" premise. I doubt that Emmerich and FOX would go with Bagley to play an older version of himself.
Some of the original cast will be back for both films, which will begin 20+ years after the first film.
Bill Pullman has already confirmed that he's definitely game for returning. I wonder if Vivica Fox will as well...
The 2 films will be called: ID Forever - Part 1, and ID Forever - Part 2.
We'll see how this all shakes out. I haven't exactly been longing for ID4 sequels, but I'll still see them if they do get made, with or without Will Smith, and/or Michael B. Jordan. Although I do wonder what other young actors FOX and Emmerich have on their short list, and whether they're all black.
Now we wait an extra year to find out.