Credit: Everett Collection

Back in 1996, Will Smith launched onto the A-list after playing alien-slugging pilot Steven Hiller in Independence Day — and he’s stayed there ever since, reigning for nearly 20 years as one of Hollywood’s most respected and bankable stars. So now that two new Independence Day movies are in the works, fans are asking the obvious question: Is Smith coming back for the sequels?

According to director Roland Emmerich, who sat down with EW yesterday to talk about his presidential thriller White House Down (out June 28), the answer is no. “I don’t want to have Will. He’s too big for a movie like this. It would be a Will Smith movie,” says the director, who is planning two sequels — titled ID Forever Part 1 and ID Forever Part 2 — which take place 20 years after the original alien invasion. “It’s Independence Day. And Independence Day was always not about one person. It was always a group thing. And [Will] is too big a star.”

Of course, Smith himself isn’t making any such declarations. (A rep for the actor had no comment on this article.) And the actor’s legacy will still live on in the Independence Day sequels. Emmerich says one of the new main characters will be a Hiller’s stepson, Dylan. (In the original movie, Dylan was the son of Hiller’s girlfriend, played by Vivica A. Fox.) Just don’t expect Smith’s movie star son, Jaden, to be taking that part. “He’s a little too young,” Emmerich laughs.

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