Last we covered this ongoing story, the rumors was that, Michael B. Jordan's 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 is on his short list for the FOX project, although no offer had been made yet. But Jordan was said to be definitely interested.
Naturally, the question this raised was whether Will Smith would indeed sit out the next 2 films, paving the way for Jordan to take over for him; or whether Jordan will play his son, in a handing-off of the baton.
It's long been believed that Will Smith likely wouldn't be returning for the Independence Day (ID4) sequels, because he's "too expensive," according to director Emmerich.
It was previously reported, about 2 years 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? Well, 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).
Will's salary for the first film was about $5 million; not bad, considering he certainly wasn't the proven box office champ that he would later become. I'd assume that any sequels to ID4 would cost more than the $75 million the original film did. How much more, I don't know. But given the current budgets of many high-profile, special effects-laden, 3D blockbusters (oh yeah, the sequels will be in 3D), I wouldn't be shocked if the budgets for ID4 parts 2 and 3 are in the $150 - $250+ million range (including salaries of course).
So Will Smith asking for $25 million for each isn't all that unreasonable, is it? Given that, if he was to headline each sequel, he would most likely be the main box office draw (along with the computer generated alien effects).
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.
Deadline reported over the weekend that Will Smith will NOT be part of sequels (the actor is said to have delivered the news to the studio himself), which are planned for release starting in 2016, the 20th anniversary of the original Fox smash.
No specific reason is given, but after all the back-and-forth over the last 2 years, this comes as no surprise. Although I wouldn't be shocked if, a couple of months from now, the news is that Smith will indeed be appearing in at least one of the sequels, but maybe in a peripheral role.
Some of the original cast will be back for both 2 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.