It was in spring 2010 that word first cropped up about possible back-to-back sequels to the blockbuster "Independence Day," with shooting said to take place as early as this year. Well, that didn't happen, and megastar Will Smith went on to make another franchise sequel instead in the shape of "Men In Black 3," but once again, the sequels are rearing their heads. Director Roland Emmerich, who has long been saying that once a story is in place they'll move forward, teased during an interview with The Lantern earlier this week when he said, "I'd say hold tight. It's happening soon." And it looks like it is.
But before anything can happen there is the 50-million-dollar question -- what about Will Smith? That's the amount he's asking for to reprise his role as Captain Stephen Hiller, and Vulture report that's not the only caveat the actor has. According to their sources, Smith also wants to shoot close to home and possibly include his wife Jada and daughter Willow in the films. Ugh. But the bigger issue is the actor himself. After seeing the turmoil Sony went through in the expensive, delayed, constantly rewritten "Men In Black 3," Fox wants Smith to sign off on everything from top to bottom before shooting even begins to make sure they don't encounter the same shenanigans, and this is something Emmerich confirms Big Willie also seems to want.
"We've talked to him, but naturally he wants to see a script, which I totally understand," the director told The Lantern.
But perhaps most intriguing of all, there is a very large possibility that these movies could shoot as early as next year. The plan right now is for the scripts for both sequels to be delivered by mid-December. While the aim is to make them back-to-back, unlike the 'The Deathly Hallows' or 'Breaking Dawn,' these will be standalone movies, that still exist within the larger "Independence Day" world that be can enjoyed together or individually (think the second and third "Back To The Future" movies). And yes, this means that "One Thousand A.E." over at Sony, mooted to be Smith's next film co-starring his son Jaden and directed by M. Night Shymalan, may not be good to go. Pre-production is apparently moving very slowly in order to please the mercurial tastes of Smith and to once again avoid the MIB3 debacle. As you might imagine, Sony wants to avoid a repeat of what happened on the sequel, but it stands as a testament to the bankability of Smith that they still want to work with him. But with "One Thousand A.E." still not confirmed, it does leave the door open for Smith to get back to killing aliens.
But what if he doesn't return? Fox will apparently do the sequels even if Will Smith isn't on board, which should indicate how eager they are to get this franchise making them more coin. We can't imagine Jeff Goldblum or Harvey Fierstein would be able to greenlight super expensive mega-sequels (but we can dream). We'd wager Fox will try and get another star to take over the lead role, but in that case, why even bother?