'Independence Day' Sequel Greenlit, Will Smith Unlikely To Return

Execs over at Fox are finally pulling the trigger on that long-rumored Independence Day sequel. The studio has given producers a green light for the film, which will now get into motion with the goal of shooting in May 2015. And while there's no formal announcement yet, it seems like this will be one film, rather than a two-movie split as previously rumored. And it sounds like Will Smith won't be back for the new chapter.

Deadline has the report, saying the sequel "has been slotted for a May production start" which will put things in motion for the already-announced June 24, 2016 release date — right in time for the 20th anniversary of the original movie. Right now, only the single film is greenlit.

There isn't a deal in place for Roland Emmerich to direct at this point, but that is likely all but a formality. There's also no formal report about casting yet, but the report says Will Smith won't be back, with the caveat that any change of heart on Smith's part would likely be accepted gratefully by the production.

We don't know much about the plan for the sequel, though we were aware that there were plans for a sequel with Smith, and one without. As you might expect, there have been a few writers on the project already, starting with Emmerich and Dean Devlin, James Vanderbilt coming on to rewrite, and Carter Blanchard following him.