Independence Day: Resurgence, which hits theaters next week, is Roland Emmerich’s long-awaited sequel to his popular 1996 film that welcomed extraterrestrials to Earth with a knuckle sandwich. 20 years have passed since the original premiered, but it seems that time was needed to sort out some details and strengthen the premise. In his capacity as Empire’s guest-editor, Roland Emmerich has just revealed the original “feel-good” idea for the film (which was scrapped), along with his plans for Independence Day 3.
Emmerich dutifully answered questions from readers about the sequel, including the original idea for the plot he workshopped with his Independence Day co-writer Dean Devlin in the early aughts. They “wanted to make the movie about peace” following the 9/11 attacks, but it “just didn’t work.” It sounds like the sequel was initially going to involve a pretty big gaffe on humanity’s part.
“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!”
Emmerich’s probably right—no one would have recognized a film about diplomatic relations as one of his own, unless the peace talks were held in some landmark that he could destroy with CGI. He did say Resurgence retains some of that peaceful element while also setting up a possible sequel, which he’d be more than happy to make as long as it’s not 20 years from now: “I wouldn’t want to make it with a Zimmer frame!”
Talk then turned to the Stargate remake or sequel Emmerich announced he was working on back in 2014. When asked if the TV series would play into the remake’s plot at all, Emmerich said “elements of it will flow into the reboot, definitely.” But the reboot will focus on a larger—and younger—cast of characters.
“The amount of characters, for instance. It’s not a two-hander like the first one with James Spader and Kurt Russell, this time it’s a bigger group. Yes, there’s still the James Spader character and the Kurt Russell character, but other people are equally important. James and Kurt won’t come back—maybe as cameos—it’ll be a younger cast.”