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“Have you ever seen a Marvel movie?”: 20th Century Fox Destroyed $817M Will Smith Sequel, Said Modern Blockbusters Don’t Have Comedy

“Have you ever seen a Marvel movie?”: 20th Century Fox Destroyed $817M Will Smith Sequel, Said Modern Blockbusters Don’t Have Comedy

Sequels have not always been one of Hollywood’s strongest suits. With the contentious follow-up to Will Smith’s 1996 sci-fi drama, Independence Day, that problem becomes even more tangible to the modern-day crowd of cinema-goers. Independence Day: Resurgence was a blunder and a massacre of epic proportions and to associate that film with the game-changing one from the 90s is humiliating to those who had grown up watching and loving the original. 

Sadly, however, all aspects of the script that made the 2016 sequel so bad were not only avoidable but also rectifiable. But studio producers clashing with the creative vision of the writers/directors is a tale as old as time, and in this case, one that played a significant part in contributing to the downfall of the film. 

Liam Hemsworth leads the next generation in the Independence Day sequel
Liam Hemsworth leads the next generation in the Independence Day sequel

Also read: Will Smith Agreed to Star in 2 More Independence Day Sequels Before Abandoning $1.2B Franchise: “They went crazy and greenlit immediately”

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Studio Interference Doomed Independence Day Sequel

If only one could blame every critically and/or commercially panned film on the head of the financiers and the studio. After all, these are the people that are not only actively involved with the production of a film or a series but also happen to have creative oversight that can often overrule the decisions of a writer, actor, and director if it doesn’t align with their vision of a project they chose to invest millions of dollars in. 

The sets of Independence Day: Resurgence witnessed a power struggle not too dissimilar to the situation painted above. Dean Devlin, co-writer of the film revealed in an interview with Yahoo:

“I think Roland [Emmerich] directed a really interesting movie, but the studio asked us to make changes that didn’t make any sense to me and ultimately we put out a movie that I’m not crazy about. [Fox executives] said, ‘Modern tentpole movies don’t have comedy in them anymore,’ and I was like, ‘Have you ever seen a Marvel movie?’”

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Also read: US Military Withdrew Support for $817M Will Smith Masterpiece as it Had Area 51 References

While the comparison of Independence Day to Marvel films is a bit too broad in its generalization, Devlin was not wrong in his deduction. The CBM franchise has always embedded itself with the comical elements of its plots and narratives. While the superheroes’ stories come off as heavy and decisive in their final battles for the victory of good over evil, the remainder of the story regales in humor and playfulness that just as quickly engages the attention of readers aged 8 to 80. 

If Devlin attempted to approach the sequel in a tone similar to Marvel, the chances were pretty good that the sequel would have fared better than what was eventually put out on the big screens in the Summer of 2016. 

Will Smith Dropped Out of Sequel at the Last Minute

For a writer and a director, it’s the worst nightmare. A film that has already been put through the conveyor belt of production lineups having its lead actor drop out at the last possible minute, whether due to personal problems or creative differences, often puts the entire production through the wringer. When it’s Will Smith involved, the issue becomes a whole other territory. Devlin claims his original draft for the 2016 sequel’s script had Smith in it – and that it turned out to be so good that he had already churned out a third part even before the second was green-lit by the studio. 

“It was a bit like Rocky III. He’d gotten rich and he’d gotten famous, and he had to get the eye of the tiger back you know? He’s a little too comfortable and it’s his chance to bring the old Will Smith out of retirement.”

Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day (1996)
Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day (1996)

Also read: “I don’t want to be the alien movie guy”: Will Smith Refused The Matrix After Independence Day, Lost Out on Millions That Made Keanu Reeves Hollywood’s Heartthrob

But after Smith dropped out, allegedly because of his deep-seated apprehension toward sci-fi movies, the studio scrambled for a purchase before having to come up with a plan after sanctioning not one, but two whole scripts with Will Smith’s character at the center of the plots. 

“[Fox executives] also wanted to concentrate on the younger pilots, who didn’t have as much to do with the original Independence Day. They thought that young people wouldn’t want to watch Jeff Goldblum, which I thought was crazy. There was a great movie to be made there, and I wish we had made it.”

While the audience can only sit and ponder upon the tragedy of near-hits and missed opportunities, the true vision and ambition of Independence Day: Resurgence remains lost forever. A third film focusing on a reversal of roles as the humans invade the alien planet was rumored to have been scripted by the co-writer/producer but that too, for understandable reasons, never came to fruition. 

Independence Day: Resurgence is available for renting or buying on Prime Video and Apple TV+.

Source: Yahoo

Written by Diya Majumdar

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has nearly 1500 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh. Other skills include being the proud owner of an obsessive collection of Spotify playlists.