Will Smith Says "No Thanks" to 'Independence Day 2'

Monday, 10 February 2014 08:45 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Will Smith Says "No Thanks" to 'Independence Day 2'

When aliens invade during the summer of 2016 in Independence Day 2, Captain Steven Hiller won't defend the planet; he'll probably be at a Fourth of July barbecue or something instead.

After much dillying and even a bit of dallying, Will Smith has reportedly opted against returning to star in the sequel to 1996's biggest blockbuster.

Back in the summer of '96, Smith was still best known as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  When Independence Day made $817 million worldwide, though, Smith's ascendance to worldwide movie star status began in earnest.

Given the first movie's huge haul and big pop cultural impact, it only makes sense that 20th Century Fox has been sporadically trying to get a sequel off the ground for almost two decades.  It also only makes sense that Fox would want arguably the biggest star on the planet to return as widecracking, nuclear-payload-delivering pilot Hiller.

But it's just not meant to be.  According to Deadline, Smith has informed the studio that he isn't going to be punching any extraterrestrial faces come July 4, 2016.

A lot of folks were expecting Smith to return to this potentially safe sequel.  He sought the solace of a familiar franchise following his three-year break after Seven Pounds, breaking his quiet spell with Men in Black III in 2012.  After taking a critical shellacking on After Earth, ID4 2 could've been a safe bet for Smith, who next appears alongside Margot Robbie in the conman comedy Focus.

Even without Smith going Big Willie Style all over Independence Day 2, the sequel can still happen.

When director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin handed over their first draft of the screenplay to Emmerich's White House Down writer James Vanderbilt to take over, they did so with a trick up their sleeves.  Vanderbilt is writing two distinctly different versions of the sequel, one featuring Hiller and one that omits him entirely.

So we're guessing Fox will simply go with the Will Smith-less version of Independence Day 2, rumored to be the second installment in a planned trilogy.

Deadline's report also offhandedly mentions that Sony Pictures is developing a Men in Black reboot so as to avoid the overhead that comes with paying Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Barry Sonnenfeld every time.

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