The further we get away from the original 1996 release of Independence Day, the less it seems likely that Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin will realise their dream of bringing not one, but two sequels to the world. Still, neither of them has given up, and now Emmerich, out doing early press for his new action thriller White House Down, wants us all to know that progress is being made.
According to Emmerich, the sequels – called ID Forever Part I and Part II – would be set 20 years after the original, when the alien reinforcements summoned by a distress call finally arrive after making the long, wormhole-assisted journey to our planet. They are, somewhat naturally, pissed off about the destruction of their first wave. Which ignites a new battle for the Earth and a big cliffhanger. “The first one ends on a little success, but only enough to give the humans hope,” he tells Entertainment Weekly. “And then in the second one they have to free themselves again.”
In the time since the nasty extra-terrestrials took out landmarks and killed hundreds of thousands, humanity has not been complacent. We’ve been trying to adapt. “It’s a changed world. It’s like parallel history,” says Emmerich. “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.”
As for who might show up in the new movies, those details are all still being worked out. Bill Pullman has said he’ll come back, but Will Smith has not yet committed. The director and producer have a plan anyway, with the focus on new characters, including Smith’s stepson from the first film. “It’s still some of the same characters, but also new younger characters; it’s a little bit like the sons take over,” Emmerich says.
Emmerich and Devlin have apparently finished both scripts and handed them over to White House Down writer James Vanderbilt for a polish. The action thriller arrives on September 6. Who wants to bet that Fox would aim to get at least the first ID sequel out in time for the 20th anniversary?