Dean Devlin has taken some heavy floggings from movie fans over the years, especially after his 1998 Godzilla movie was panned by critics and the left many viewers scratching their heads. Further complicating his reputation is the seemingly never-ending slew of underwhelming (albeit campy) movies that collaborator/director friend, Roland Emmerich, has been churning out (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and Anonymous, among others) - given that, for many years, their names appeared side-by-side on a number of high profile projects.
However, some moviegoers will still remember that the pair were also responsible for a number of fan-favorite projects that managed to earn solid box office revenue while also delivering memorable sci-fi stories: Independence Day, Stargate, and Universal Solider. Now, it sounds as though Devlin and Emmerich may have found new life on the big screen by finally breaking the story to one of their most-saught-after sequels: Independence Day 2.
In an interview with Heat Vision, while promoting the fifth season of Devlin's TNT hit Leverage, the screenwriter-turned-TV executive producer discussed the status of the ID4 follow-up - laying out a "challenging" but "exciting" path to the big screen:
"I can tell you that Roland and I have been working together for the first time in 11 years and we’re every excited about the idea of doing it. Whether or not we can make this happen, if we can get all the pieces to come together, that’s gonna be challenging. But creatively, for the very first time since we did the original, I feel we have a worthy concept, a worthy path to go. We resisted doing the sequel for years because we still wanted to honor the first one. The first one gave us all careers, and we really love that movie and loved the experience. We didn’t want to make a movie because it was financially a good idea, we only wanted to do it when we had an idea and a concept that creatively felt like it honored the first one - that it felt like an organic sequel as opposed to ‘let’s just go make some more money.' I feel like we got it. I think it took a long time, but I feel like we finally got something that really feels like, 'that’s worth seeing as a sequel to Independence Day.'"
It's been a long time since we've heard solid news on the Independence Day sequel - two years to be exact. At that time, Emmerich claimed the pair had figured out where to go in a pair of sequels (to complete a trilogy story) - basically a continuation of the ID4 storyline:
"The idea is just to continue the story and actually I don’t know how many years ago this was—twelve, thirteen, fourteen years ago—and just continue where it ended.”
Whether or not they'd pick-up right after the events of Independence Day or fast-forward SIXTEEN years isn't entirely clearly - assuming that Devlin's recent comment even refers to that same plan. Of course, any returning actors would be significantly older now - and, aside from a report that (falsely) claimed Will Smith was onboard a pair of sequels, it sounds as though casting is in the very early stages.
According to Devlin:
"We’re beginning a long process of talking to everybody. We’ll just have to see what happens."
Bringing everyone back would be a difficult endeavor - especially considering Will Smith is now one of the largest action stars in the world (and, according to Emmerich, has a very specific idea of how he'd be compensated for a sequel). That said, if they could land Smith, who hasn't shied away from alien franchise sequels (i.e. Men in Black 3), it would be easy enough to bring back other key players like Bill Pullman (depending on how far into the future the story jumps), Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, and Vivica A. Fox.
It'll certainly be interesting to see where the filmmakers go with the story - especially since the closing act of Independence Day seemed to layout a pretty clear path (i.e. the alien mothership might have only been the first of many). Similarly, most of the ID4 action was limited to aerial battles and it's easy to imagine some pretty slick ground combat this time (as hinted at in the Independence Day alien "Shocktrooper" scene) - especially with the aid of modern CGI.
In the interview, Devlin also commented (briefly) on another of the pair's sci-fi properties he'd like to revisit, Stargate (1994):
"Stargate has always had this empty hole. When we made the first one, we always intended on doing part two and three, and we were prevented for years. And our hope is that we can get another chance at Stargate and tell the entire story we wanted to tell."
The film helped launch Stargate spin-offs, most notably Stargate: SG-1 (which ran for 10 seasons) and Stargate Atlantis (which lasted 5 seasons). However, there's no doubt that many fans would love to see another Stargate movie on the big screen - even though elements of the original movie story have been explored on TV.
If Kurt Russell is no longer available to reprise his role as Col. Jack O'Neill (later played by Richard Dean Anderson) - maybe Devlin can center the entire story around a much older James Spader and his role as Dr. Daniel Jackson? Kidding (maybe) - since Dr. Jackson's story continued in the TV series (played by Michael Shanks).
We'll keep you updated on both sequels. However, in the meantime, you can catch Devlin and Emmerich's Independence Day in 3D on July 3rd 2013.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Independence Day 2 and Stargate 2 as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.
Source: Heat Vision