20 years after the original blockbuster Independence Day set the box office on fire in 1996, the aliens will finally return in this month's highly-anticipated sequel Independence Day: Resurgence. Roland Emmerich is back to direct, working from a script with his Independence Day co-writer Dean Devlin. In the two decades between these two movies, there were several different stories that the filmmakers were working on, one of which would have been much more peaceful than what fans will see on the big screen June 24.
This week, Independence Day: Resurgence director Roland Emmerich will be serving as the guest online editor for Empire where his first task was to hold a Q&A for fans. Nearly 15 year ago, both Roland Emmerich and Dean Devil were paid by 20th Century Fox to write a script for Independence Day 2, and they not only turned in the script, but returned the money they were paid, because they didn't think the script was good enough. Here's what the director had to say about that early version of the sequel.
"It was after 9/11 and Dean and I wanted to make the movie about peace, and it just didn't work. There's still an element of that in the new one, but that version was only about that. We shoot aliens down accidentally and then at the end of the movie they land on the White House lawn and say "we come in peace" and that was it. It was just too weak an idea and we didn't really want to do it. It didn't have an Independence Day feel. Only the alien ship was destroyed!"
A decade later, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin teamed up again and came up with the story for Independence Day: Resurgence, which brings back Jeff Goldblum (David Levinson), Bill Pullman (President Whitmore), Brent Spiner (Dr. Brackish Okun), Vivica A. Fox (Jasmine Hiller) and Judd Hirsch (Julius Levinson). There are also a slew of new characters played by Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, William Fitchner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Angelbaby and Sela Ward. When asked why it took 20 years to make a sequel, Roland Emmerich revealed he never actually planned on making a follow-up in the first place.
"I'd never planned to make a sequel - I always felt that Independence Day was a standalone film. But over the years I realized how iconic the film had become for people and I was repeatedly asked by [20th Century] Fox to do it. What really did it was just how amazing film technology is these days and how restricted I felt in '95/'96 when I did the original one. But it's not a traditional sequel."
For fans who want to see the original blockbuster on the big screen again, we reported earlier this month that 20th Century Fox is holding a double feature of both Independence Day and Independence Day: Resurgence for one night only on Thursday, June 23. The original Independence Day was the first movie in history to make over $500 million worldwide, so we'll have to wait and see if the ID4 sequel will be just as big of a hit. Stay tuned for more on Independence Day: Resurgence as we get closer to the June 24 release date.