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‘Independence Day 2′ Will Not Star Will Smith After All

Will Smith Independence Day
20th Century Fox

Will Smith protecting the earth from aliens seems like a no-brainer, but not so fast, says director Roland Emmerich — it looks like the summer blockbuster star won’t be returning for ‘Independence Day 2.’

Following the poor box office numbers for ‘After Earth,’ it came as no surprise when word broke this week that 20th Century Fox set a July 3, 2015 release date for ‘Independence Day 2.’ A Will Smith sci-fi/alien movie bombing at the box office during the summer movie season? Impossible.

But ‘Independence Day’ director Roland Emmerich wants you to know it has nothing to do with ‘After Earth’ — because it has nothing to do with Will Smith. Emmerich sat down with NY Daily News for an interview about his upcoming film ‘White House Down‘ (dude really loves to make movies where the White House goes down), and had this to say about Will Smith and ‘Independence Day 2′:

Will Smith cannot come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name. It’d be too much.

If you’re familiar with Emmerich’s work, you know that the director doesn’t seem to have the word “restraint” in his vocabulary, but apparently the casting of Will Smith in ‘Independence Day 2′ is the line in the sand. ‘Independence Day’ took Will Smith from Fresh Prince to summer blockbuster king, earning him the nickname “Mr. July.” But it’s that star power that’s making him ever more costly to cast.

And while we’re a little sad we won’t be seeing Smith in the upcoming sequel, word has it that Bill Pullman‘s Thomas Whitmore will be returning in some capacity. Emmerich promises “like maybe half of the people you would know from the first film” are in his script for the sequel. Here’s hoping Jeff Goldblum isn’t too expensive.

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