"The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back,” he explained, revealing that a distress call brings in alien reinforcements to battle Earth. ”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.” So yes, that means the next installments will be taking place a couple of decades after the events of the 1996 movie, and that also means that the scripts by Emmerich and Dean Devlin -- currently being rewritten by James Vanderbilt ("Zodiac," "The Amazing Spider-Man") -- will shift the focus of the story.
“It’s still some of the same characters, but also new younger characters; it’s a little bit like the sons take over,” Emmerich said. Ross Bagley played the stepson of Will Smith's character in the original movie, but considering that the actor was rumored to have wanted Jada and Willow for the followups, one can easily see Jaden Smith being positioned, but there's no word yet. In fact, while Bill Pullman has already agreed to return, Smith remains non-committal. But the movie is pressing on, with apparently some kind of plan for if he does bail, and the humans this time around are slightly more well prepared.
"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,” he explained, adding that art departments were already putting together concepts.
Anyway, we'll see what happens and whether or Smith demands drastic rewrites to take the lead role like he did for "Django Unchained." And while the 3D re-release for "Independence Day" was taken off the table for this summer, it probably won't be long before it's thrown back on the schedule. [EW]