In a new interview, Independence Day: Resurgence director Roland Emmerich said that fans can blame Will Smith and Suicide Squad for the sequel's many problems. The original Independence Day is a quintessential 1990s blockbuster action film starring Jeff Goldblum and Smith in their action-movie-prime. However, the 2016 sequel left many long-time fans of the movie disappointed.
While Goldblum reprised his role as a scientist in the sequel, like he did with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Smith ultimately chose not to appear in Independence Day: Resurgence as Captain Steven Hiller, USMC. Instead, he opted to play Deadshot in the DCEU villain ensemble movie Suicide Squad, which also received less-than-positive reviews. Unlike Independence Day, Suicide Squad will get a further sequel, but Smith will not be playing Deadshot again.
While promoting his WWII epic Midway, Emmerich opened up about the effect Smith's departure had on his widely-panned sequel. During a sit-down with Yahoo Entertainment, Emmerich made some surprising comments about Independence Day: Resurgence. Not only did he admit that the movie had serious problems, but he confessed that the movie never should have been made in the first place. After Smith's unexpected departure for Suicide Squad, Emmerich was forced to hastily change the script to accommodate his character's noticeable absence. Smith's world-saving character was killed off and the plot reworked to focus on his son and other characters. Unfortunately, the end result was far less compelling than the 1996 original, which has maintained a strong legacy in the decades since its release. Upon reflection, Emmerich now sees that the sequel never should have been made without Smith's involvement and the original script.
Well, that was a little bit more complicated because I just wanted to make a movie exactly like the first, but then in the middle of production Will [Smith] opted out because he wanted to do Suicide Squad.
I should have stopped making the movie because we had a much better script. After I had to, really fast, cobble another script together. And I should have just said “no,” because all of a sudden I was making something I criticized myself, a sequel.
The surprisingly candid remarks explain some of the much-criticized plot problems in Independence Day: Resurgence, but not all of them. Many critics of the Independence Day sequel complained that the movie was too focused on setting up a sequel and potential franchise at the expense of the movie's plot, a trap that many big-budget action movies in the Marvel era have fallen into. However, as Independence Day: Resurgence proves, many studios have learned the wrong lessons from the success of the MCU. Yes, Marvel movies do contain interconnected plots that reward loyal viewers, but early Marvel movies largely succeeded on their own merits as standalone films. In comparison, Emmerich's sequel spent a lot of time on plot lines setting up a sequel that will likely never happen.
Ultimately, Smith decided he would rather play a new character in Suicide Squad than reprise his role in the Independence Day franchise, which is an understandable career choice. But after waiting 20 years for a sequel, Independence Day fans were then left with a very problematic sequel as a result of his decision. Considering that Emmerich has criticized Hollywood's love of sequels in the past, the director has likely learned his lesson about reviving classic movies. On top of that, the director's comments are probably the final nail in the coffin for fans hoping in vain for another Independence Day sequel; however, in light of his recent interview, that's probably for the best.
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021