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Up-and-coming screenwriter Carter Blanchard is collecting a number of noteworthy credits as of late, including Spyhunter for Ruben Fleischer, but few will be quite as large, mainstream (or picked over) as his latest gig: Roland Emmerich’s announced Independence Day 2.
Because you can’t have the same spaceships hovering over the same landmarks in a sequel, 20th Century Fox commissioned Carter Blanchard to take a crack at Independence Day 2 to get it ready for pre-production, according to Deadline. The one thing Blanchard needs to address right off the bat? The absence of pivotal character Captain Steven Hiller, played by Will Smith. The major A-lister recently confirmed that he would not be returning to the sequel… strange because Smith isn’t shy from doing sequels at all (from the Men in Black series to the Bad Boys films), and Independence Day absolutely is one of the blockbusters that put Will Smith on the map and made him the unofficial "King of Summer Movies" -- at least for a short amount of time.
We currently have no idea what the plot of Independence Day 2 will be. As Variety notes, Carter Blanchard will work off of a treatment submitted by James Vanderbilt, and it’s unclear as to whether he will start over completely or just punch up what’s already on the page. I really want to know when the story for the movie will take place. If Roland Emmerich is free from the constraints of the original characters – from Will Smith or Jeff Goldblum to the great Bill Pullman – then they can set this movie in a distant future, a distant past, or on an alien planet, if they wanted to. While I really want to see Will Smith back in this fold, maybe distancing ID4 2 from the template of the first movie frees Emmerich and his team to go in some exciting directions.
Roland Emmerich, however, will have to distance himself from the wonton destruction that he helped give birth to in movies like Independence Day and 2012, which has bled into Man of Steel and Godzilla as of late. As we have noted, there are only so many times that you can destroy the same cities before it becomes a bore. Maybe Emmerich will ask Carter Blanchard to help him figure out how to go smaller? Maybe Independence Day 2 will be a quiet character study? Given it’s July 2016 release date, that’s unlikely (or downright impossible).
Emmerich has said that he will work on Independence Day 2 simultaneously with Stonewall, a gay-rights drama he’s shooting with War Horse lead Jeremy Irvine, and it’s possible his conflicting sensibilities will color each film. Of the two, which one will you see first?