Fox Declares 'Independence Day' Sequel Official, Likely Without Smith

The White House-destroying aliens from 1996's box office hit Independence Day are coming back to theaters, according to a report from Deadline. 20th Century has officially greenlit the project and is looking to lock up original director Roland Emmerich to return. By locking up deals now, the sequel is on track for a June 24, 2016 release date, but Deadline also speculates that it could easily move to July 4, 2016 to capitalize on the holiday weekend.

The original film, which grossed $811 million worldwide, starred Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman, though the sequel will likely move forward without Smith, who is reportedly being courted for an unspecified role in Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad adaptation. Goldblum and Pullman are expected to return, likely alongside a new star. Michael B. Jordan was being eyed more than a year ago, but his current commitments and the production schedule may mean Emmerich and Co. have to move in a new direction.

The script has been in development for some time as the project was originally intended for a summer 2015 release, with a current draft by Nicolas Wright and James A. Woods. The original draft was written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin and later revised by Carter Blanchard before James Vanderbilt took a crack at it.

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