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Will Smith Won’t Return for ‘Independence Day 2′ (or ’3′)

Will Smith, Independence Day
20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox has been itching for a sequel to ‘Independence Day‘ for a very long time, but it seems that the project has finally started moving forward (at least considering how much director Roland Emmerich has talked about it) and is scheduled to hit theaters in two years. But the project has been dealt a blow as Will Smith has decided against returning for ‘Independence Day 2.’

This news comes from Deadline, and it’s surprising in that Smith is coming off of ‘After Earth,’ which was a huge disappointment domestically. It did a little better worldwide, but it used to be the conventional wisdom that Will Smith was the last and possibly only real movie star left in Hollywood as he made bankable project after bankable project. Nowadays that’s not the case, and that could be because Smith took a break from acting for four years starting in 2008, and didn’t come back to the big screen until 2012′s ‘Men in Black 3,’ which was profitable, but a troubled production.

Getting Smith back — the only movie star of the original cast — would have been a big get for the title, so this has to hurt. Currently the sequel is targeting a 2016 release, which would coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the first film, is supposedly going to be the middle chapter in a trilogy, and could star Michael B. Jordan. All of this seems up in the air, but one thing’s for certain: it won’t star Will Smith.

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