Nearly twenty years ago, Independence Day mightily stood as the biggest, most rollicking and absurd of summer spectacles. The cinematic spectrum has changed greatly since then, yet Roland Emmerich’s bombastic alien invasion saga helped to usher a new wave of tentpole cinema for moviegoers when it debuted – appropriately enough, during the Fourth of July holiday in the summer of the 1996. The film was the highest grossing feature of the year, and murmurs of a sequel have been around ever since. Today’s announcement that Carter Blanchard has been hired to draft a re-write of the script may make good on a nearly two decade return to the screen.
Emmerich, one of the reigning filmmakers of the modern summer spectacle template, directed the first Independence Day and has since earned his blockbuster bona fides with successive films like The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 2012 (2009) and White House Down (2013). He is slated to return for the sequel to the biggest hit of his career. While plot details are unknown, Emmerich along with producing partner Dean Devlin came together to sort the details out for a sequel and a draft of the screenplay was first undertaken by screenwriter James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, White House Down.)
The recruitment of Blanchard comes on the heels of a potentially major breakthrough for the scribe who recently finished a draft of the upcoming Spy Hunter for director Ruben Fleisher (Zombieland) and sold the spec script Glimmer to DreamWorks, reportedly after praise from Steven Spielberg. Further more, re-writes may be in order as it appears that Will Smith (the star of the first Independence Day) possibly won’t return to the franchise that helped make him a major box office force– there’s rumors that Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) may come aboard. Whatever the cast may look like, 20th Century Fox has already dated the sequel for July 1, 2016, the twentieth anniversary of the first film.
The question is whether the film can feasibly make it time. Currently, Emmerich is prepping his next feature– the gay rights drama Stonewall, a portrait of the infamous Stonewall riots of 1969 starring Jeremy Irvine (War Horse). Stay tuned for more updates on Independence Day 2.