Welcome to Earth.
According to an interview with New York Daily News, director Roland Emmerich explained that Will Smith would not be returning for the Independence Day sequel (due out in 2015) because he simply costs too much. “Will Smith can not come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name,” the filmmaker said.
This is after a lackluster showing with After Earth and a new reliance on global recognition for the star (MIB 3’s gross box office was 71% foreign). Of course, that’s not to say that Smith has to lift a finger for the next million years in order to live comfortably, and even though it was the movie that launched him, it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to return for ID4 Forever Part 1 (which is really what it’s being called for some reason). Mostly because the title is stupid. Partially because he already has a ton on his plate (including a directorial debut in the works).
But the answer itself is confusing. “Too much of a marquee name?” Since when is that a bad thing for a theoretically large-budget movie from Fox? And if Smith is too expensive, will they be looking at any famous faces to lead the new charge against the aliens?
Maybe not. The first entry — made 17 years ago — relied heavily on newcomers. It’s strange to think about, but the “stars” of ID4 were Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum alongside a fresh face from television who’d just found success with Bad Boys. Nothing’s been confirmed on the casting front, but Emmerich is promising about half the characters in the sequel will come from the original.
But no Captain Steven Hiller. Can we hope for a cameo at least?