The citizens of Earth have had almost 20 years of peace since their planet was rudely invaded by aliens on July 4th, 1996, but recently, there has been talk from director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin that the victory might not last much longer. Two sequels to Independence Day are currently in the works and awaiting a green light from 20th Century Fox. It may well be that the studio is keeping a close eye on the success of Emmerich's most recent project, White House Down, before giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to Indendence Day 2 and 3, A.K.A. ID Forever Part I and II.
It seems that Emmerich himself is confident enough to start divulging details, or at least savvy enough to start generating hype for the Independence Day sequels by releasing a few intriguing snippets of information.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emmerich has happily provided solid answers to some of the biggest questions that fans of the original film have had. One of the biggest uncertainties regarding the plot is whether the story would pick up immediately after the events of the first film or twenty years later. According to Emmerich, the answer is is both:
"The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back. And they know that the only way you can really travel in space is through wormholes. So for the aliens, it could take two or three weeks, but for us that’s 20 or 25 years."
The Independence Day sequels being set only twenty years after the events of the first film will mean that by the time they (potentially) gets a theatrical release they will more or less be set in the present day, but Emmerich claims that the films will also have a distinctly futuristic feel. Based on a "what if...?" scenario of what might have happened to our history if we'd discovered advanced technology back in the nineties, the story will see humanity far more prepared for an invasion than they were in the original film. Says Emmerich:
"It’s a changed world. It’s like parallel history. [Humans] have harnessed all this alien technology. We don’t know how to duplicate it because it’s organically-grown technology, but we know how to take an antigravity device and put it in a human airplane."
Despite the progress that has been made, Emmerich insists that the fight won't be an easy one, saying that, "We’ve rebuilt. But [the aliens] also do different things." If only two or three weeks have passed from the aliens' perspective, it's doubtful that they've had time to come up with any new major advances themselves, which can only mean that they weren't bringing out the big guns the first time around. Perhaps the first Independence Day was just a warm-up.
When we first heard rumors about this project several years ago, the impression we got from Fox was that they did not consider Will Smith's return to be necessary for the film, perhaps due to the large price tag that inevitably comes with hiring such a consistently successful star. It's unclear whether this was a factor or not, but Emmerich implies that he has written a story which will allow new stars to shine by focusing on characters who would have been children during the first invasion.
"It’s still some of the same characters, but also new younger characters; it’s a little bit like the sons take over. The first one ends on a little success, but only enough to give the humans hope. And then in the second one they free themselves again [from the aliens]."
The word "new" seems to imply that the younger heroes will be characters that we haven't seen before, but there are a couple of candidates from Independence Day who could easily make a return as adults. The two prominent child characters from the 1996 movie were Patricia Whitmore (Mae Whitman), the daughter of the president, and Captain Steven Hiller's stepson Dylan, played by Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel Air co-star, Ross Bagley.
Though Bagley has more or less lapsed from the acting world and is mostly remembered for his child star roles in films like Little Rascals, Emmerich confirmed that Dylan makes a return in the latest version of the script. Mae Whitman is still very active and recently appeared in Arrested Development (her?), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Parenthood. Might there be room in Emmerich's customary cast-of-thousands for this familiar face to play the part of a heroine?
To quote Bill Pullman, who recently confirmed his involvement in the project: “Nobody’s holding their breath because [the sequels have] been continually plagued." So don't assume that the movie is definitely going to make it out of development hell at this point. Dean Devlin has said that he and Emmerich are not interested in making the sequels just to squeeze a little bit of money out of the Independence Day name; rather, they just have a genuine, creative interest in continuing the story. Whether or not you agree with that no doubt depends on your opinion of the original. It should be noted that Emmerich has yet to make a film as successful as his 1996 blockbuster, at least financially-speaking (The Patriot has a slightly better Rotten Tomatoes score), which might explain Fox's trepidation.
Are you excited for ID Forever Part I & II and, if so, who would you like to see return for the second invasion (aside from the aliens, of course)? Let us know what you think in the comments.
We'll keep you up to date on any further developments regarding Independence Day 2 & 3.
Source: Entertainment Weekly