Roland Emmerich Offers ‘Independence Day 2′ Update; Building Alien Mythology

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independence day 2 update Roland Emmerich Offers Independence Day 2 Update; Building Alien Mythology

Who says the 1990s are dead? Not Roland Emmerich, that’s for sure, considering that the German filmmaker – nicknamed “The Little Spielberg from Sindelfingen” – is planning to resurrect his two sci-fi properties from the decade: Independence Day and Stargate. The latter franchise is getting what is nowadays a commonplace reboot treatment (paving the way for a potential new trilogy), while the former will be given a good old-fashioned sequel that will include returning cast members like Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum and maybe Will Smith (if negotiations work out).

Emmerich has the superhero/sci-fi movie Singularity in development, but odds are in favor of him making the Independence Day sequel next (following the box office disappointment of his Die Hard-esque thriller White House Down this year). In a new interview, the writer/director took a break from devising new ways to blow up U.S. national monuments (cough, onscreen) and updated the state of affairs for Independence Day 2, also referred to as ID Forever.

20th Century Fox has claimed the 2015 Fourth of July weekend as the launch date for Independence Day 2, but during an interview with Empire, Emmerich echoed the words of Sam Mendes – back when he talked about preset release dates for tentpoles like The Avengers – and said that the scheduled premiere date has little connection to where his big-budget extravaganza is actually at in pre-production. To quote:

“You have to set a release date otherwise another film moves into it. [But] Independence Day [2] is my next movie, if I get the right script. I should get the script pretty soon, then I’ll try to get it into good shape for one or two months, and if that happens, we’ll announce it and start production.”

White House Down screenwriter James Vanderbilt and Emmerich’s longtime collaborator Dean Devlin will put their finishing touches on the current script draft for the Independence Day sequel, before they hand it over to Emmerich for additional revisions. However, although he paints a rosier picture of the situation in the Empire interview, earlier this month Emmerich admitted that he thinks a 2016 release date might be more realistic, given the current pace at which the project is moving forward.

roland emmerich singularity asteroids movie Roland Emmerich Offers Independence Day 2 Update; Building Alien Mythology

Paramount’s decision to move the Terminator reboot‘s theatrical premiere back a week – putting in on a collision course with Independence Day 2 during opening weekend (until further notice) – suggests that Fox’s rival studio may be banking on Emmerich’s followup being delayed. The latter’s box office prospects have become all the more dubious with each passing year (especially now that destructive set pieces and spectacle-driven blockbusters are no longer “events”), which might also be a contributing factor in Emmerich’s decision to not film the second and third ID4 movies simultaneously.

Here is what Emmerich told Empire, with regard to that matter:

“We’ll only do the first part, because we want to have the audience decide if they want to see the second, otherwise it feels arrogant. But I’m pretty confident, with the right script…”

“Arrogant,” that decision may be, yet Emmerich calls attention to a more relevant point: sequels produced back-to-back historically don’t have a strong track record in terms of quality; which, in the past, has resulted in the third installment not making as much as the second movie (see: ticket sales for The Matrix Reloaded vs. Revolutions). Creative burnout is another problem that usually crops up with these extended periods of principal photography, so that’s all the more reason for Emmerich to not press ahead with ID4 part 3 quite yet.

There’s another issue that ought to be considered: do the moviegoing masses care enough about seeing the world of Independence Day fleshed out in another film? For example, the first installment in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy got mixed reviews, yet there’s a vested interest from so many J.R.R. Tolkien fans to see the most beloved aspects of the author’s source novel brought to life in the next two movies. Independence Day 2 & 3, by comparison, don’t have that built-in sense of security to offer their studio investor (in the case where audiences aren’t still clamoring for more by the end of the second movie).

independence day 2 alien mythology Roland Emmerich Offers Independence Day 2 Update; Building Alien Mythology

Finally, Emmerich reiterated to Empire what he’s said in the past: that Independence Day 2 takes place in an alternate present-day where humanity has cultivated the invading extraterrestrials’ technology. In addition, the sequel will provide more background details on the not-so-friendly visitors from another planet:

“It’s a parallel history. Humans rebuild whatever they have – bigger, newer, shinier – and then they forget. Maybe, 20 years later, [the aliens are] never coming back…

“We’ve created a mythology around these aliens, which is really cool. You have to create a mythology because people want to see a bigger picture.”

Upcoming projects like Independence Day 2 and Jurassic World (a.k.a. Jurassic Park 4) call attention to another valid concern: besides financial motivation, is there a good reason to continue expanding the mythos of these decades-old sci-fi properties? After all, the previous Jurassic Park sequels have long been criticized for doing little but piggybacking on the success of the first movie, in terms of its (back in the day) innovative thrills, special effects and self-contained story/themes – can the Independence Day sequel(s) manage to avoid repeating that mistake?


Independence Day 2 is currently scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on July 3rd, 2015.

Source: Empire

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  1. It feels like everyone has run out of ideas for movies

    • They have and it’s something we are all going to deal with. Come to terms with it sooner so that an original idea will be even more fatastic.

    • It feels like people have run out of original comments to make.

      • Ha, nice.

      • +1

        There’s always that one person to say something like this. It’s also a bit funny cause everytime an actual original film comes out, no one goes to see it lmao. Studios go where the money’s at.

    • There are few precious “new” stories. Pretty much any plot line can be linked to something in Jules Verne, Shakespeare or the Bible.

    • Nope. Not in this case. It’s not about running out of ideas. It’s about expanding a universe. The “running out of ideas” aspect I dig, but only with mindless remakes and pseudo-remakes…Nobody needed stuff like Battle LA, Battleship or Skyline. Because we already had ID4!
      ID4 is still the greatest alien invasion movie and expanding upon this classic is far superior than creating “new” movies that are basically the same story all over again but don’t take place in the same universe. This is why I prefer good sequels over “original” concepts. They don’t pretend to be something completely fresh but further elaborate on existing greatness. Remakes are a waste, sequels aren’t! Sequels and crossovers are what creates great worlds…

      BTW: This “running out of ideas” notion is nonsense to begin with. There are hundreds and thousands of genre books, video games, toy lines, comics, RPGs etc out there that would make great movies. However, given the 2013 line-up of “original” flops, the studios won’t dare to touch any fresh stuff because people simply don’t care. They’d rather watch Transformers 4 than Pacific Rim, no matter how much better PR might be in comparison to Bay’s juggernauts…

  2. I grow so freakin’ weary of inarticulate filmmakers (people) trying to explain something in extended descriptives, only in the end to say, for all intents and purposes, nothing at all. Or, as evidenced here, worse by way of giving an interview completely void of point and abhorrently replete with unintelligible information via an unacceptably limited vocabulary.

    It’s like listening to the football player struggling to give his final history report in ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ before simply fist pumping, “San Dimas High School football RULES!”

    “It’s a parallel history. Humans rebuild whatever they have – bigger, newer, shinier – and then they forget. Maybe, 20 years later, [the aliens are] never coming back…”

    I seeeeee. Sooooo, maybe 20 years later they forget…WHAT exactly? Are you referring to the inherent-to-human nature phenomenon of becoming complacent due to the passage of time? That they “forget” that the Aliens could still pose a threat? Is that what you are trying to say and forcing me to decipher through your illiterate Director’s gobbledygook?

    If that’s the case, and you ARE then trying to convey this point, why then are they (aliens) “never coming back?”, and how does this make sense with the point you just laid out prior?

    And you’ve “created a mythology” around these never-coming-back Aliens…which is, um, “cool.” Because ‘people want to see “a” bigger picture’. You mean THE bigger picture, don’t you Roland? People want to see THE bigger picture.

    Is it then also (this bigger picture) used perhaps to continue the narrative and build upon the story’s lore? And not just because people want to see bigger projections of…whatever on the screen?

    Roland,buddy, you’re not the brainiac visionary you think you are. You make movies with groovy spaceships, fake looking but forgivable bio-suits and Egyptian-lore based knock-offs that give us an hour plus of blowing up stuff real good. And we love you for it.

    Stop trying to be Stanley Kubrick. Just tell us you’re going to make even bigger spaceships with a bagillion fold head-count increase in Alien fighters and we’ll go see it.

    • If you love him, stop hating on his process.

    • he’s no native english speaker, so stop hatin

      • Besides, why would he give away plot points when the script isn’t even done?

        I’m sure if you had a creative bone in your body, you’d also use vague terms like “maybe” when relating something you’re passionate about as Emmerich is about ID without trying to give much away because you’re working on it and unsure of details.

    • You’re picking apart stuff that doesn’t need to be picked apart. You seem to be unable to differentiate between “I would have said that differently” and “how he did it is objectively wrong!” You seem to think because you didn’t like his verbiage, that he did it wrong.

      An example, “people want to see a bigger picture,” Just because he’s referencing the concept of “the bigger picture” doesn’t mean he has to phrase it that way. His statement isn’t invalidated only because he said “a” instead of “the.” People say “A bigger picture” a lot and they’re still talking about overall concepts.

  3. Besides the Matrix movies, what other sequels shot back to back were flops as described in the article? The only other ones I can think of were the LOTR movies, and they were a huge success.

    • Matrix 2&3 together made a solid 1b..

    • “…weaker box office returns for the third installment following a lackluster second movie.”

      Not the same as saying they flopped, just to clarify. Anyway, Back to the Future Part III and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 also saw significant drop-offs at the U.S. box office compared to the second films (though POTC 3 actually made a bit more than POTC 2 outside the U.S., oddly enough).

    • Back to the Future 2 & 3 were shot back to back as well, and both of those films were well-received and did well financially too.

      • True but, again, I’m not saying they flopped.

        Here’s my point, in a nutshell: often times back-to-back sequels (i.e. not continuing stories from the get-go like LOTR or The Hobbit) result in the third movie not making as much as the second. That’s something that a studio head would probably take into consideration before giving the go-ahead on two ID4 movies.

        I’ll amend that passage, to make my meaning clearer.

        • It’s almost like filming back to back not only creates burnout on set, it also creates burnout for fans because the movies have to release within a year of each other and a lot of people don’t seem ready to do that.

          You need a passage of time between shooting each part of a trilogy/franchise to make it work (the only worry is when you’re adapting something like Harry Potter with aging actors that are still meant to be teens).

        • I agree with your new wording 100%

        • That can be said in general about movie franchises that aren’t shot back to back either though right? I would imagine that most “part 3″ films don’t make as much as the “part 2″ films regardless of when they were shot.

          Perhaps the ratio is just higher on those that are shot back to back. At the same time, the sample size isn’t really big enough in order to draw a definitive conclusion.

  4. Would of been nice if he’d been asked about ISOBAR.
    Maybe he’ll let Devlin direct it…….

  5. talk about striking when the iron is hot!

  6. They haven’t run out of ideas. They just don’t want to risk original ideas since $$$$ is so crucial now with films. Hell, you don’t even need a critically acclaimed film anymore. It just needs to make enough $$$$ at the box office and it’ll get a sequel. Sadly enough.

  7. I want the worlds of ID4 and Alien/Predator/Prometheus to merge into one gigantic alien creature franchise… the ID4 aliens just look as if they were part of the same “family” of alien monsters. Since both franchises are controlled by Fox, why not? BTW: Avatar might be part of the same world, too. Crossovers are popular these days, so who knows…

    • “You have to create a mythology because people want to see a bigger picture.”

      Maybe THAT is the bigger picture…The aliens from ID4 being part of a greater set of alien creatures, somehow linked to the creators seen in Prometheus…Interesting.

  8. As a kid I desperately wanted an ID4 sequel. If I were emmerich I’d fold my Stargate reboot plans into this and start building my own shared universe, that’s what people want these days!