While most of the gang is getting back together for the long-awaited sequel to Independence Day, one star who will not be making his return is Will Smith. Not only will his character of Captain Steven Hiller not be seen in the movie, Roland Emmerich has already gone and killed the character off screen, meaning that we won’t see him in any other sequels, either. Now Will Smith has opened up about the decision to not reprise his role. It turns out it wasn’t that he didn’t want to be in the movie, but rather that he just didn’t have the time.
Will Smith sat down for an interview with BBC Radio One and was asked about the upcoming Independence Day: Resurgence. He told host A.Dot that his decision to not return had nothing to do with any lack of interest, but rather that scheduling conflicts forced him to make a decision between one high profile film and another.
It was one of those things. I had a couple of films lined up. I had Concussion and Suicide Squad. So it was a decision, timing wise, between Independence Day and Suicide Squad.
The two films are only separated on the release calendar by about a month, so it makes sense that the two movies would be doing their principal photography at around the same time. It sounds like ultimately Will Smith would have loved to have made both movies if the timing had worked out. Smith says that he was being sent pictures from the set if Independence Day Resurgence that were making him regret his decision, at least, a little bit.
In the end, Will Smith decided to go with Suicide Squad and what is likely to be the beginning of a new franchise, rather than one that is picking up after a long absence. Smith isn’t the only one who had to deal with scheduling issues with the film however. Tom Hardy was originally cast as Rick Flagg in the movie, but he had to drop out due his work on the hellish set that was The Revenant not being done in time. Check out Will Smith’s full interview below. His Independence Day remarks begin at about the 1:48 mark.
While "scheduling conflicts" have often been used as Hollywood code any time an actor dropped out of a film for reasons that nobody wanted to make public, they’re also very real. The upcoming Robin Hood: Origins had to reschedule their entire shoot because Taron Egerton was contractually obligated to shoot Kingsman 2 first.
The original Independence Day was Will Smith’s introduction to the blockbuster movie world, so seeing the sequel without him in it may seem a little strange. There’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a lot of Deadshot over the next few years though, so maybe that will help ease the pain.