Will Smith ‘too expensive’ for ‘Independence Day 2’

Director Roland Emmerich reveals star won't be returning for the sci-fi sequel

Will Smith won’t be returning for Independence Day 2 as he is “too expensive”, according to director Roland Emmerich.

The original, released in 1996, followed a last-ditch effort to thwart an alien invasion taking place on the 4th of July – the day of America’s annual Independence Day holiday. Last week, Fox has announced that Independence Day 2 will open in cinemas on July 3, 2015: the Friday of that year’s holiday weekend

Independence Day director Roland Emmerich will return to helm the follow-up, but Will Smith will not be returning as Captain Steven Hiller. “Will Smith cannot come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name,” Emmerich told the New York Daily News. “It would be too much.”

He added: “We have like maybe half of the people that you know would know from the first film (in the script) and the other half people who are new.” Bill Pullman, who played US President Thomas J Whitmore in the original movie, has previously expressed some enthusiasm to reprise the role.

Last September (2012), Emmerich revealed that he was planning a pair of sequels titled ID Forever – Part 1 and ID Forever – Part 2. However, Fox’s announcement refers to just the one sequel simply titled Independence Day 2.

Emmerich wrote the original Independence Day with Dean Devlin and the pair have also been collaborating on the script for the follow-up, which is now getting a rewrite from James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man, Zodiac).