Why Independence Day 3 Hasn't Happened

Independence Day 3

There's been no movement on Independence Day 3, and there's a pretty good reason why. Director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin took the world by storm with 1996's Independence Day, which premiered over the July 4th weekend and became a blockbuster. The bombastic alien invasion/disaster flick cemented Will Smith as a bonafide movie star and went on to gross $817 million worldwide.

However, it took Emmerich and Devlin 20 years to deliver a sequel. Independence Day: Resurgence, set two decades after the original, brought back stars Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman but mainly focused on a younger group of characters and expanded the universe for sequels. Unfortunately, Will Smith was deemed "too expensive" to return and his character was killed offscreen; this was a major blow to the second chapter, which ultimately bombed at the box office.

Related: Screen Rant's Independence Day: Resurgence Review

Still, there's definitely room for an Independence Day 3 (and 4), so why haven't the sequels happened yet?

Independence Day 3 Was Set Up By Resurgence (And ID 4 Was In The Works)

Independence Day: Resurgence was planned to be the first of what could have been three more films that would take the story in a whole new direction. Resurgence introduced a new alien species who are the enemies of the original invaders of Earth, which were finally given a name: the Harvesters. After humanity defeated the Harvesters and their Queen in Resurgence, the idea was for the new heroes of Earth Space Defense, Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), Dylan Hiller (Jessie Usher), Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe), and Dr. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), to join an alliance of other races and take the fight to the Harvesters in space in Independence Day 3.

In 2016, Roland Emmerich stated that if Resurgence was a success, audiences would not have to wait another 20 years for the next film. The director envisioned Independence Day 3 to be "an intergalactic journey"; Resurgence established wormholes to allow easy travel to other galaxies. In addition, William Fichtner signed a 3-picture deal when was cast as General Joshua T. Adams, who would become the new President in Resurgence, indicating the producers wanted his character around until a possible Independence Day 4, although no details are known about what that sequel's plot would have been.

Independence Day 3 Is Unlikely After Part 2 Bombed At The Box Office

The plans for Independence Day 3 ground to a halt when Resurgence bombed at the box office. The sequel opened on June 24, 2016 (not over the July 4th weekend like 1996's original) and only grossed $41 million in its first weekend, $9 million less than the first did 20 years prior. Independence Day 2 ultimately only grossed $103 million in North America and totaled $389 million worldwide, far less than the original's $817 million worldwide gross. Making these results worse was that Resurgence's budget was $165 million, more than twice the first movie's budget.

Related: Independence Day: The Complete Character Guide

The critical and audience response was in synch on Rotten Tomatoes: both stand at 30% Rotten, indicating very few were impressed with the sequel or won over by the new characters. At WonderCon 2018, producer Dean Devlin was asked about the chances fans would see another Independence Day and he responded, "I don't know. Currently, I personally have no plans on doing another [Independence Day]." Then, in May 2018, Devlin announced he cut ties with the Independence Day franchise. This essentially means Independence Day 3 is dead.

The Fox/Disney Deal Makes Independence Day 3 Even Less Likely

In late-2017, The Walt Disney Company announced it reached a deal to purchase the film and TV rights to 21st Century Fox's properties, including X-Men, Alien, Avatar, and Independence Day. The Disney/Fox deal is finally expected to be completed by June 2019; afterward, it will take months for Disney to determine what steps it will take in regards to existing Fox franchises it now owns. Independence Day likely falls relatively low on the priority list.

However, in Hollywood, it's best to never say never, especially when it comes to remaking globally-known properties like Independence Day. The story Devlin and Emmerich planned is finished but the brand still has name value and the poor quality of Emmerich's sequel could be blamed for killing their continuation of the franchise. With Devlin no longer involved, it's entirely possible Disney could one day reboot the franchise entirely with a new filmmaker and vision that would excite audiences - although fans would probably still welcome Jeff Goldblum's return for Independence Day 3.

Next: Fox Movies Canceled By Disney's Purchase

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