It's a sad day for humans and aliens alike: Deadline is reporting that Will Smith recently informed Fox that he would not be returning for "Independence Day 2," which is scheduled to land in theaters over the July 4th weekend, 2016 (just in time for the 20th anniversary of the original film -- man, does that make us feel old).
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This past fall, Emmerich had let slip that two versions of the "Independence Day 2" script had been commissioned -- one that contained Smith's character, a hotshot fighter pilot who ends up saving humanity, and the other without. It seems like the latter has been chosen.
The sequel, it seems, is still happening, just without Smith saying stuff like "Welcome to Earth!" and punching out space aliens. Which, admittedly, is somewhat sad, but we can move on and still have a kick-ass "Independence Day 2." The script(s) for the new film were handled by James Vanderbilt, an incredibly gifted writer who wrote "Zodiac" for David Fincher and, most recently, "White House Down" for Emmerich, and is going off of an original screenplay by Emmerich and his longtime collaborator Dean Devlin.
Another franchise that will continue, sans Smith, is "Men in Black." Sony is looking to reboot the franchise entirely, without Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, or director Barry Sonnenfeld, who have effectively become too expensive for the studio. Smith will next be seen in this week's "Winter's Tale," and after that will star in the crime comedy "Focus," from "Crazy Stupid Love" filmmakers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, which costars "Wolf of Wall Street" actress Margot Robbie. "Focus" will be out sometime later this year