Roland Emmerich Interview

This summer brings Independence Day: Resurgence, a full 20 years after the original Independence Day invaded theaters. So what took Roland Emmerich so long? In an interview, Emmerich admits he’d “never planned to make a sequel” before explaining why he changed his mind, and reveals one of the sequel ideas that got scrapped early on. And yes, he’s already thinking about Independence Day 3

As guest editor of Empire’s website, Emmerich took a few minutes to answer some reader questions about his career in general, and the Independence Day movies in particular. Among other things, Emmerich addressed the 20-year gap between the original Independence Day and the upcoming sequel:

I’d never planned to make a sequel – I always felt that Independence Day was a standalone film. But over the years I realized how iconic the film had become for people and I was repeatedly asked by [20th Century] Fox to do it. What really did it was just how amazing film technology is these days and how restricted I felt in ’95/’96 when I did the original one. But it’s not a traditional sequel.

It was actually several years ago that Emmerich began trying to make an Independence Day sequel happen. Before Independence Day: Resurgence got off the ground, Emmerich and screenwriter Dean Devlin had a completely different idea for the follow-up:

It was after 9/11 and Dean and I wanted to make the movie about peace, and it just didn’t work. There’s still an element of that in the new one, but that version was only about that. We shoot aliens down accidentally and then at the end of the movie they land on the White House lawn and say “we come in peace” and that was it. It was just too weak an idea and we didn’t really want to do it. It didn’t have an Independence Day feel. Only the alien ship was destroyed!

That premise actually sounds kind of interesting on paper — an attempt to flip the usual blockbuster formula on its head. But Emmerich is probably right that subversion isn’t exactly what audiences are looking for from an Independence Day movie.

While it may have taken Emmerich to come around on the idea of an Independence Day 2, it sounds like he’ll need a lot less convincing to make Independence Day 3:

If it’s successful enough, yes, because it’s set up for a sequel. In 20 years? No, I wouldn’t want to make it with a Zimmer frame!

Here’s hoping it involves David Levinson reuniting with his doppelgänger, movie star Jeff Goldblum. I don’t care how or why, I just want to see it happen.

Independence Day: Resurgence opens June 24. For more from Emmerich, including his thoughts on whether the Independence Day: Resurgence aliens or Alien‘s xenomorph would win in a fight, click over to Empire for the full Q&A.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: