After critical and box office success for their original features Stargate and Independence Day, writers/directors Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich became one of the most sought-after producing teams in the mid-1990s - only to take a dip when their Godzilla adaptation was universally panned. In spite of a monster-sized misstep, both Emmerich and Devlin have stayed busy in TV and film since that time - writing, directing, and or producing everything from The Patriot to White House Down, and Leverage, among others. Yet, thanks to the industry's current obsession with remaking, rebooting, or sequalizing dormant 90s sci-fi stories, Emmerich and Devlin have been given the green light to breath new life into their most intriguing franchises.
For years, fans had pondered where the filmmakers could take moviegoers in a second Independence Day or Stargate film chapter - especially since both projects were left wide-open for further movie adventures. After Independence Day, fans were left to speculate where ID4 2 would see alien shock troopers engaged in high-tech urban warfare whereas Stargate lovers were able to dig deeper into the mythology through three separate live-action TV series, as well as the non-canon animated show Stargate Infinity. Yet, despite solid franchise recognition, the original Stargate never received a full-scale sequel. Now, two decades later, Emmerich and Devlin are preparing to revisit both franchises on the big screen - and Devlin is offering-up new details about what to expect.
For months, we'd been working under the assumption that Devlin and Emmerich were preparing back-to-back sequels for Independence Day, titled ID Forever Part I and ID Forever Part II - until Emmerich indicated that might no longer be the case. Now, in a recent interview with Nerd Report, Devlin confirms that they're putting the idea of a trilogy on hold - and focusing entirely on Independence Day 2:
“We decided just to do one first to make sure that people like where we’re going. If that works well, there’s an ability to do some world building which would be really fun and interesting to do. I think Roland and everybody felt, let’s just make sure 20 years later that people still are interested. I think in our case, we started to feel that maybe we were being a little bit arrogant by assuming that we could do two movies. We said you know what, let’s scale it down. Let’s first make sure that it works for everyone.”
The producer also commented on Will Smith's choice to not return as fan-favorite top gun, Captain Steven Hiller, for the sequel:
“I’m not sure of the reasons why Will ultimately decided not to do it. You’d have to ask him. I think he was just at a place where he did seriously consider it. We had a lot of meetings with him, but at the end of the day he decided that doing this wasn’t right for him.”
Given that long-dormant sequels have received somewhat mixed receptions at the box office lately, Dumb and Dumber To being the most recent, it's not surprising to hear Devlin and Emmerich scale back their Independence Day trilogy idea - at least until they know if interest is still there. Back-to-back sequels and film shoots are becoming increasingly common in Hollywood - since franchise productions are becoming more expensive and more complicated to film. However, whereas back-to-back filming for The Hobbit or Justice League series is a relatively safe bet, there's no guarantee at this point that viewers will even get particularly excited about Independence Day 2 - much less 3.
No doubt, Emmerich and Devlin could have another critical and commercial hit on their hands but, in an industry where Marvel movies are doing billion dollar business, the filmmakers will need to actually deliver a movie that can recapture widespread interest - not just rely on fond nostalgia. After all, there will be high expectations and subsequently high costs for any Independence Day sequel, meaning that the producers literally could not afford for ID4 2 to flop if ID4 3 was already coming through the pipeline.
Devlin and Emmerich appear to be taking a similar approach with the recently announced Stargate reboot - which they also touted as the beginning of a planned trilogy. While Devlin doesn't outright say that a new Stargate trilogy is off the table, his comments seem to suggest that they are primarily-focused on the first entry (with Emmerich directing) but could hand the franchise off to other writers and directors down the line - assuming the reboot is successful.
That said, Devlin also confirms, as had previously been speculated, that the reboot will also be a remake of the original Stargate (which starred Kurt Russell and James Spader) - with filming to commence after Independence Day 2:
"Unfortunately, we have to wait until we finish Independence Day for that. Roland wants to direct that one [Stargate] too. Hopefully we go into that right afterwards.”
Plenty of fan-favorite films have been remade - but Devlin and Emmerich will certainly be in a pretty unique position if they actually do choose to use the Stargate reboot as a chance to remake their original film. Understandably, there's a lot the pair would be able to do with visual effects now that would have been impractical back then - and it's highly unlikely that the reboot wouldn't be an outright shot-by-shot remake and would fall more into "reimagining" territory. Still, with a feature film and several TV shows already available, how many times do viewers need to see the same basic concept on screen? Especially after SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe took the franchise into some genuinely fresh territories.
Regardless, after years of non-starts it sounds as though Emmerich and Devlin finally have the ball rolling on both of these projects - with Emmerich targeting a summer 2015 shoot for ID4 2. In the meantime, we'll keep you up to date as we hear further official info regarding both the Independence Day and Stargate series.
Independence Day 2 is scheduled to hit theaters June 24th 2016. The Stargate reboot does not yet have an official release date.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Independence Day 2 and Stargate, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.