Written By: Dan Geer
It is no secret that director Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence just did not do nearly as well as expected at the box office. Even though it was the 20th anniversary of the first film when the sequel premiered last summer, not enough people went to go see it. It made only a fraction of what the first film did back in 1996, raking in around $103 million domestically and almost $390 worldwide. While the film did make its money back and then some, it definitely underperformed when comparing to the first film’s earnings, and was not received well critically. The sequel didn’t even take the top spot on its first weekend.
There are a number of reasons why this could be. Lack of interest, no Will Smith and not premiering on July 4th weekend are but a few reasons, and there were too many other movies to be more excited about that summer to even care about a sequel to a 20-year old movie like Independence Day. While this writer is a huge fan of the original film, and was actually looking forward to seeing Resurgence – even I have to admit that it was only half of what the first movie was. I liked it enough, as on its own it is actually quite entertaining. It was just not on the level of the first film – which I expected.
It is hard to imagine that Emmerich’s plans for a third film will even come to fruition, now that Resurgence has come and gone and been basically all but forgotten at this point. The end of Resurgence obviously left room for another movie, no question, and it actually proposed a fun concept for the third film – interstellar war! Sounds fantastic to me actually, but because the sequel just didn’t attract enough fans, it is doubtful people would care about seeing a third one.
Unless… you do something completely unexpected. Something that the second film was unable to do…
You bring back Will Smith.
Yes, you read that right, and I know they “killed him off” in the second film – but hear me out. What if the third film actually retcons the idea of the death of Smith’s character Steven Hiller, and he’s actually not dead? All we know from Resurgence is that he supposedly died test piloting the first alien hybrid fighter designed by the Earth Space Defense (ESD). But we never actually saw this happen, and for all we know, his son Dylan never saw it happen either. What if that’s just the cover story?
I’m not that creative of a storyteller, but I can imagine there are a number of ways the writers of the first two films could come up with a way to bring back the character. What if for some reason during the 20 years between the first and second film, Captain Steven Hiller got involved in something the government wasn’t too happy about regarding the aliens or their technology, and the powers that be imprisoned him in secret? Or what if there were aliens that survived the intial attack, simply abducted him, and the government was force to cover it up because it was their fault for letting the hero of the first alien war get taken? Whatever.
The point is, since 20 years went by, a great number of things could’ve happened in between the first and second film to give reason for a cover up of Hiller’s existence.
Obviously the writers of the first two films wrote out Will Smith’s character because he simply did not agree to do the second film. But if they could write a great and creative way for him to come back, convincing Smith with enough money, it just might work. After all, Bill Pullman’s character is definitely no longer alive, so perhaps there’s room to pay Will Smith a substantial amount, even if the rest of the main cast returns?
Bringing Will Smith back is really the only way I can see audiences excited about the franchise again. The trailers for the third film would obviously promote the heck out of Smith return, flat out showing Dylan discovering that his father is still alive, making the film a character-driven father-son story at its core. That would really get people pumped for the third film I think, and is probably the only way audiences would flock to the theaters to see it.
Of course the rest of the movie has to be done right. But as far as box office results go, Will Smith has the star power to make it happen.