Summer blockbusters in the '90s didn't get much bigger than 1996's Independence Day, which pit the entire planet against an intergalactic invasion, but Bill Pullman recently recalled how the studio nearly went another direction with the title, noting that he believed "Doomsday" to be one of the names being considered. Not only would this have potentially avoided the significance of the American Independence Day, but another studio owned the rights to the title due to the 1983 film Independence Day. Ultimately, it was thanks to Pullman's delivery of his character's iconic speech and its conclusion with the line, "Today we celebrate our Independence Day," that convinced the studios to embrace the title.
"We shot that at night, of course, because it’s dark and not on a soundstage or anything," Pullman recalled to CinemaBlend. "It was really late, and it got moved into the schedule early, because Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich were in contention right then with Fox about the title. I think it was gonna be 'Doomsday.' It’s what Fox wanted, and it was a title that was typical of the time [for a] disaster movie. They really wanted 'Independence Day,' so we had to make the speech really good. And then they cut it together, and a couple of nights later, Dean came to my trailer, and he said, ‘Do you wanna see it’? … So he popped in the VHS, he showed me the cut of the speech, and I went, ‘Holy Mother, they have got to name this movie Independence Day.’ And they did."
Despite the studio not officially agreeing to go with Independence Day as the title, the filmmakers were intent to make a push for it, as the production's code name was "ID4." That moniker was also embraced with some of its marketing materials, as three characters was much easier to emblazon on a poster than the entire title.
20 years after the original film debuted, director Emmerich and stars Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, and Vivica A. Fox returned for Independence Day: Resurgence, which was set to be the first of two sequels. The film proved to be a financial and critical disappointment, seemingly killing all hope of a third film. Emmerich, however, still hopes he can complete the trilogy.
"I don’t know. I really haven’t even gotten to it," Emmerich shared with CinemaBlend when asked about a third film being developed earlier this year. "I had naturally talked with Fox about it, and then when they got bought, I kind of said, 'Well, that’s probably [over.]' But I don’t know. We’ll see, it’s kind of like it could happen, it could not happen. Hollywood is like a strange, strange place these days, because I have a feeling Disney would maybe be interested in doing it. They like that kind of franchise movie."
Now that Disney owns the rights to the series, it's unclear what the future might hold for the franchise.
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