The director of 'Independence Day 2' has revealed that the film nearly didn't happen, once Will Smith announced he wouldn't be taking part.

If fans were left dismayed by the news that Smith would not be returning to his role of Captain Steven Hiller in the planned blockbuster, it turns out the director wasn't exactly thrilled, either.

will smith
Will Smith in the original film, which made a whopping $816 million at the box office

Roland Emmerich, who steered the first film to global box office success to the tune of $816 million +, and is also in the chair for the next one, has told HuffPostUK how, when he first heard that Smith wouldn't be returning, he was prepared to rip up his contract.

"We wrote a script, first for Will Smith, then Will Smith decided not to do it, and for a moment, I didn't want to do it at all."

But studio execs at Fox soon came round to the idea that the film could still work, with more of an ensemble cast, less concentrated on one character, and Emmerich was prepared to be convinced.

"All my friends convinced me that 'Independence Day' is served better to do it exactly like the first one, as an ensemble one, so I sat down again with Dean (Devlin), and we wrote another script which Fox liked very much.

independence day 2
The original film was 'a phenomenon, not a movie' according to Emmerich

"But they felt someone from the outside should come in, so they decided to use the writer Jamie Vanderbilt ('White House Down'), and he's writing right now."

Are there going to be one or two more films in the can? It depends, apparently...

"We want at first to do one, and have the audience decide if they want to see another one, or even more."

Is the director terrified by the expectation of a follow-up? We've seen similarly hopeful sequels reach a sticky end when they finally reach the screen, but the down-to-earth Emmerich shrugs...

"Always, and you know what, I will judge it on the script. If the script is not good enough, I will not do it. It has to be really great.

"I have already visually created a couple of things, which I believe will be mind-boggling, but I have to see if the story and characters are strong enough, because I know visually we can do it again."

As for trying to match the original, which won two technical Oscars and was at the forefront of large-scale disaster filmmaking in the 1990s, Emmerich is equally sanguine...

"You cannot beat Independence Day. The original was not like a movie, it was a phenomenon. At that time, it didn't bother me, I was totally calm, but looking back, it was bizarre."

Roland Emmerich's next film, 'White House Down', is in UK cinemas in September. Watch the trailer below...

Loading Slideshow...
  • Marvel Universe

    Living in the Marvel universe would be either a real blast or a total disaster depending on where you end up and what kind of powers you might have. We can't imagine it would be all that fun to be a helpless civilian running around on the streets as super powered mutants battle it out all around us. Though to each their own. Some might get their kicks out of it.

  • The Hobbit Universe

    AKA, New Zealand. If you're interested in living in "The Hobbit" or "Lord of the Rings" world, then try New Zealand. The troll population is quite low these days. Orcs can occasionally be a problem though.

  • The (1953) War of the Worlds Universe

    Why anybody would want to live in this universe is beyond us. Aliens spraying death rays would be a major source of irritation.

  • The Matrix Universe

    The real question here is, would you live in the Matrix in "The Matrix" universe? Or would you live in the <em>real world </em>in the Matrix Universe? Wrap your head around <em>that</em> little blue pill. It could be fun to live inside the Matrix if one had cheat codes. Otherwise, being a slave to machines is not the most ideal.

  • Star Wars Universe

    You live in a galaxy far, far away. There are a plethora of living and work options for living in the Star Wars universe, many of which could offer an exciting and rewarding life and career. Want to be a tall, hairy dog like creature that flies starships? No problem. Want to be a feared bounty hunter? Sure. But certain potential problems arise if you consider being born into the Star Wars world. There are so many possible outcomes that you could end up being Jabba The Hut's laughing sidekick or the creature that lurks in garbage dumps. Or you could end up a rural peasant farmer not named Luke that never ends up leaving his farm. Not the most exciting prospect.

  • Alien Universe

    Somebody might want to live in this universe if say the xenomorphs weren't around and say if the annoying things didn't end up bursting out of chests. But who would really want an "Alien" universe without xenomorphs? Besides those living in it...

  • Star Trek Universe

    "To boldly go where no <strong>man</strong> has gone before"...might not be the best universe for feminists. Filled with universe spanning adventure, the Trek universe could be an exciting one to live in if you don't take into account the constant threats of alien invasions or wrathful Khans. KHHHHAAAANNNN!! For the Trekkies out there, they might dig down even deeper to which Trek universe to inhabit. Old James T Kirk? Jean Luc Picard's? Young Kirk's? Or one of the spinoff universes?

  • Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Universe

    Want specific memories erased? Live in this universe. If you knew you were living in this universe, you could have your memory erased of the "real" world and only remember living in this world.

  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Universe

    Whoa. Sign us up. Any universe where you can travel in time and bring back the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Socrates and Billy The Kid for a school presentation can't be all bad.

  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Universe

    Why not live in this quirky yet lovable universe where video game sound effects and graphics overlay normal everyday life? Though, that would probably get annoying after a while. Sometimes you just want to eat your morning bowl of cereal without "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" exploding near your face.

  • Harry Potter Universe

    Wizards and wands. Warlocks and Weasleys. The "Harry Potter" universe would be an exciting one, though again dependent on where in the food chain you end up. It would be terrible to be say, an accountant in the muggle world without the knowledge of magic right around the corner. But for those that could secure a spot in Hogwarts, attractive indeed.

  • Airplane! Universe

    "Surely you can't be serious." "I am serious and don't call me Shirley." Those afraid of flying would be best advised to avoid living in the airplane universe. Those with a love of bad puns and a hate for political correctness would thrive in the "Airplane!" universe.

  • Groundhog Day Universe

    Hard to imagine why anybody would want to live in a movie universe where the same day is repeated over and over and over again until a lesson is learned. At least, unless you're one of those people that want to get into lots of trouble with no long term consequences.

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Movie Universe

    Don't panic. All is well.

  • Avatar Universe

    You know we had to go here. Again, it really depends which side of the coin you fall on. Would you like to live a life inspired by the plot of "Dances With Wolves" and have blue alien sex? Or would you rather be gunning down blue aliens as a space marine. Could be considered a win-win no matter how you shake it.

  • Woody Allen's New York Universe

    Have to love Woody Allen's movies, but the New York portrayed shall we say it...not entirely representative of the real thing, but could be fun to live in if for the endless conversation and dinner parties.

  • Indiana Jones 1, 2, and 3 Universe

    Sorry, but "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" doesn't count. We're not counting it. Sorry. If you want to live in Indy's Universe, you'll have to do it in "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "The Temple of Doom", or "The Last Crusade".

  • Back To The Future Universe

    Hey McFly! Living in Marty McFly's universe could be tricky. Happiness would really depend on which timeline you lived in. Taking up residence in Biff's alternate reality from "Back to the Future II" would be ill advised for example.

  • Twilight Universe

    For those that like their vampires of the sparkley, romantic variety, the "Twilight" universe is for you.

  • Jurassic Park Universe

    The childlike joy of being able to interact with living dinos almost makes up for the minor detail that dinos can eat you. Living in the "Jurassic Park" universe is living in a world of rogue genetic scientists laughing in the face of responsible genetic engineering. While visiting an island resort filled with dinos trying to eat you would be entertaining (if you managed to not get eaten), who knows what other kind of creations they might come up with. Anybody seen the movie "Splice"? Something like that we'd imagine.

  • What Dreams May Come Universe

    For those that might not remember or whom have not seen Robin Williams' 1998 film, the movie was a visual journey into the heart of a painting.

  • Terminator Universe

  • Muppets Universe

  • Narnia Universe

  • Castaway Universe

  • Tron Legacy Universe

  • Superman Universe

  • Silent Hill Universe

  • The Ferris Bueller Universe

  • Talented Mr. Ripley Universe

  • Dune Universe

  • Serenity (Firefly) Universe

  • Disney Universe

    Yes, but what Disney movies SPECIFICALLY?

  • Pleasantville Universe

  • Doctor Who Universe

  • Wonderland Universe

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit Universe

  • Into The Wild Universe

  • Inception Universe

  • Atlas Shrugged Universe

  • Demolition Man Universe

  • The Fifth Element Universe

  • Blade Runner Universe

    (Dune is already included in slideshow!)

  • Midnight In Paris Universe

  • Spaceballs Universe

  • Men In Black Universe