An Independence Day sequel won’t work without Will Smith

Screenwriter Dean Devlin is putting the finishing touches on the scripts for Independence Day 2 and 3, both of which are slated to begin filming early next year.

That means it’s time to put the cast together, but it’s been a long time, and any deals that the actors made to appear in sequels – if they made any – have long ago expired. The original ensemble cast included Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, and Randy Quaid.

If Fox wants ID4 sequels to be successful, they need to bring back at least a couple of the above-mentioned actors, a point Smith seems to understand, as he’s requested $50m to be in both films – a deal that Fox has apparently turned up its nose at.

A sequel to the 1996 film could be interesting. I imagine it picking up years after nearly-apocalyptic events of the first film, a ruined but victorious world, struggling to pull itself back together faces a new threat.

It could be more aliens – perhaps some escape pods landed and they were hiding out, building strength, or perhaps an earth force takes advantage of the turmoil to move against the US.

The setting is interesting, and there are a lot of places they could take it, but it won’t go anywhere without Will Smith or some other previous cast members. Finding an all-new cast would make it just another action film.

True, Fox could seek out some of the others – except for Quaid and McDcDonnell, since their characters died in the first film. Pullman is likely looking for work and I haven’t seen Goldblum do anything in a while – Law & Order doesn’t count. There is currently no word if either of these actors is in talks with the studio.

Will Smith, though is the one with the star power, and I think that Fox is going to realize that he’s worth the price-tag. I guess they have to decide what caliber they want these films to be.

Independence Day 2 and 3 will be filmed back to back, and will likely hit theaters as close to July 4, 2013 and July 4, 2014 as possible.