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Will Smith's 'Independence Day' Step-Son Will Take Over In Sequels...

by Tambay A. Obenson
March 27, 2013 5:04 PM
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”The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back [...] And they know that the only way you can really travel in space is through wormholes. So for the aliens, it could take two or three weeks, but for us that’s 20 or 25 years [...] It’s a changed world. It’s like parallel history. [Humans] have harnessed all this alien technology. We don’t know how to duplicate it because it’s organically-grown technology, but we know how to take an antigravity device and put it in a human airplane [...] It’s still some of the same characters, but also new younger characters; it’s a little bit like the sons take over [...] The first one ends on a little success, but only enough to give the humans hope. And then in the second one they free themselves again [from the aliens].”

Words from Rolland Emmerich, director of the first Independence Day (or ID4) movie, released in 1996, discussing plot details for the next 2 sequels in what is obviously now a franchise. Emmerich was speaking with Entertainment Weekly while doing press for his upcoming thriller White House Down.

As we already know, Twentieth Century Fox plans to back not one, but 2 sequels to the film that we could say helped launch Will Smith to super-stardom status.

Emmerich and screenwriting partner Dean Devlin are obviously returning, having not completed scripts for both films, which are now in the hands of White House Down writer-producer James Vanderbilt for rewrites. 

It's still not official whether or not Will Smith plans to return to the ID universe, although it was previously reported that Fox could go ahead with both films without him, if they decide that his demands are too steep.

What demands? Well, most significantly, from our last post on this several months back, Big Willie reportedly asks for $50 million to appear in both films, and Fox balked at the idea. There was also talk about Poppa Smith wanting to include his wife and kids in the movie (said a New York magazine exclusive).

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 - $200+ million range (including salaries of course). 

So Will Smith asking for $25 million for each isn't all that unreasonable, is it? Given that he will likely headline each, and will be the main box office draw (along with the computer generated alien effects).

But wait a minute... given what Emmerich says in his quote above, Big Willie's presence may not be necessary at all, since, as he states, "it's a bit like the sons takeover."

Ross Bagley

As Entertainment Weekly adds in the piece, the story-lines will focus on a new generation of human heroes, including Will Smith's character's eventual stepson (Vivica Fox's kid) in ID4 (played by Ross Bagley, now 24 years old). 

So some of the original cast will be back (Emmerich doesn't say whether Bagley will return to play an older version of himself, or if a new actor will be cast to play the part) in 2 films that will begin 20+ years after the first film. 

Bill Pullman has already confirmed that he's definitely game for returning. I wonder if Vivica Foxx will as well...

The 2 films will be called: ID Forever - Part 1, and ID Forever - Part 2

It was previously reported that both films will be shot in 2D, and then post-converted to 3D (which I don't quite understand; why not just shoot 3D?); although Emmerich has already said that he's not too high on 3D. But it may not be solely his decision to make.

He added that there was a struggle between the studio and the actors, although he didn't say what exactly that struggle was; maybe it has to do with signing everyone they want to return for the sequels, and the money each might be asking.

And finally, co-writer Dean Devlin had this to add to the conversation in a past interview: "The thing that really hit me about the movie is how much love there is in it: between the characters; that the filmmakers had making it; that the cast had for each other. As we're approaching a sequel we're focusing on that aspect of it. Because I think that was really the key as to why it worked for everyone. It was lovable.

Alrighty then. Lots of love all around I guess. 

Let's see if they can rekindle that love with the studio and audiences, and get ID Forever - Part 1 and ID Forever - Part 2, produced and released.

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.

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  • Gina | December 16, 2013 8:20 AMReply

    Please don't make these sequels without Will Smith. Both of them will be set for failure. He helped to make the first one with Jeff Goldblum.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | April 3, 2013 12:27 PMReply

    I think based on his work in the Losers and Armored, Columbus Short would be a go choice. He's just 30 and I think he can handle the physical training that may be needed. They wanted him to do the last installment of Lethal Weapon as Danny Glovers son, but Mel Gibson pulled out. I think he would be a good look for this film. Arjay Smith from Perception would be good too.

  • Geneva Girl | March 28, 2013 2:05 PMReply

    You're making me feel old! That little kid is now 24 years old?!? Wow! I remember seeing the original movie with a bunch of friends in Manhattan. It couldn't have been that long ago.

    I wonder if Will Smith's price tag will stay that high if his next space adventure with Jaden flops. Based on the trailer you showed and those faux accents they used, it's not looking promising.

  • Welp | March 28, 2013 2:15 PM

    Can't believe it's been so long either. Can't imagine Will and Jaden's movie completely flopping, but if it does, he can always blame Shyamalan and keep it moving.

  • ALM | March 27, 2013 7:18 PMReply

    Like him or not, Will definitely has the right to request $25 million per film. If the studio doesn't want to pony up 25 mil up front, they can just give him a percentage of the ticket sales and dvds, isn't that what they usually do for a star on Will's level? I find it interesting that the studio balked at his salary, when Will literally MADE the first movie, and he has become a superstar since the first installment.

    Wow, little Nicky has really grown up. If they call him back, hopefully he has good agents who can negotiate for him.

  • Dankwa Brooks | March 27, 2013 6:57 PMReply

    Vivica will probably mos def be back. As far as the step son? Tristan Wilds or any of the young actors from 'Red Tails' will fit the bill.

    As far as Will's price tag, his last film Men In Black III made $624 Million dollars worldwide.

  • Xi | March 27, 2013 5:31 PMReply

    If it comes out like the Star Trek remake, I think it'll do well. Booo to 3d! That sh*t makes my head hurt.

  • Akimbo | March 27, 2013 5:23 PMReply

    There's absolutely no way they'll bring Bagley back for this; they'll just find someone namey to play mid-20s. Michael B Jordan and his peers can go ahead & start putting on a little extra muscle now. I don't think Will's $50 mil request is crazy at all.

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