Last we'd heard about Independence Day 2, director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin were still struggling to find financing, but had a pretty good hold on where they wanted to take the franchise's next two films. While we still can't report that any member of the 1996 film's cast has signed on to the project, or that the project has found its money, we have a very brief update for fans.
Rumors had been circulating for a while that suggested at least one of the Independence Day sequels would be titled ID Forever, and now Devlin has confirmed they will both bare that title. Since, as Devlin reveals, each movie will exist as one part of a larger story, the films have been appropriately titled ID Forever Part One and ID Forever Part Two.
In addition to a somewhat official unveiling of the films' titles, director Roland Emmerich (2012) provided an update on his approach to the sequel(s). While we're sure ID Forever will make great use of the special effects technology of today, Emmerich reveals he will not be adopting more modern filmmaking techniques whole cloth. The director confirmed Fox wants ID Forever Parts 1 & 2 to be 3D, but says they will be shot in 2D (presumably on film) and then up-converted.
It's actually a little disappointing to hear that Emmerich won't be shooting in 3D since his films are known to feature some truly epic shots of destruction. Though it's not his only trademark, the director has never failed to deliver at least one awe-inspiring sequence that emphasizes the destructive capabilities of his film's cataclysmic event (i.e. The White House exploding, Godzilla laying waste to New York, etc).
However, Dean Devlin claims those bombastic sequences aren't why audiences responded so strongly to Independence Day in the first place. Devlin tells Film Smarts that when looking back on the 1996 film, he discovered that it was the "lovable" relationships between the characters that drew audiences in and made the film compelling.
"The thing that really hit me about the movie is how much love there is in it: between the characters; that the filmmakers had making it; that the cast had for each other. As we're approaching a sequel we're focusing on that aspect of it. Because I think that was really the key as to why it worked for everyone. It was lovable."
Some might argue that getting to see Will Smith punch an alien in the face was certainly a major selling point - but yes, each member of the film's cast was given plenty of time to shine.
Speaking of the cast - there's still no word from Devlin or Emmerich on whether or not Will Smith has signed on for the sequel. When news of the IDF first broke, Emmerich claimed Smith was trying to work out the right "package" to satisfy his financial needs, but that was the last we had heard.
Casting is going to be of the utmost importance for these sequels, though, as Devlin reveals it's been a "tough battle" between the cast and the studio. Bleeding Cool surmises that, based on Devlin's comments, Fox won't officially sign off on the sequels unless a vast majority of the cast (read: Will Smith) are on board.
At this point fans have a vague idea of how Devlin and Emmerich plan to approach the two belated sequels – including what they should be titled – but really there isn't much in the way of progress. Next year audiences will get a chance to re-experience Independence Day in theaters (with the added boost of 3D) - an event that should give Fox a better idea of how casual moviegoers feel about the property some 17 years later.
Independence Day will be re-released in 3D on July 3, 2013.