When producer Dean Devlin and director Roland Emmerich first started seriously talking about a sequel to their 1996 hit Independence Day, they had plans for two sequels to shoot simultaneously. When 20th Century Fox finally greenlit the Independence Day sequel (at one time called ID 4 Ever), for July 4, 2016, it was only for one movie. I spoke with Devlin about his new TNT series The Librarians for Nuke the Fridge and he told me why they’re only doing one sequel for now.
“We decided just to do one first to make sure that people like where we’re going,” Devlin said. “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.”
Emmerich had previously said that Will Smith is now “too expensive” to return, which surprised me because Smith always seemed supportive of returning to the franchise that exploded his career. Devlin confirmed that Smith did indeed meet with them seriously before declining.
“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.”
“Roland is back to direct. He developed a new script with a couple young writers and the new script is fantastic. We’re very excited about shooting.”
This does, however, push back Emmerich and Devlin’s plans for a Stargate reboot. “Unfortunately, we have to wait until we finish Independence Day for that. Roland wants to direct that one too. Hopefully we go into that right afterwards.”
Their plans for a new Stargate movie were for a trilogy, beginning with a remake of the original film that spawned several TV series in its first life. Emmerich has not committed to directing all three. “Well, he’d like to direct the first one. I don’t know if he wants to do all three but he definitely would like to do the first one.”
Look for our full interview with Devlin this week on Nuke the Fridge, before the December 7 premiere of The Librarians on TNT.