Speaking to Movies.com in a New York City Q&A, Emmerich asserted that the actors, who played fan-favorite cable guy/computer hacker, David Levinson, and fighter pilot/President, Thomas J. Whitmore, are two returning faces set for ID Forever. As we’ve previously reported, the sequel’s cast is expected to be a mix of familiar franchise participants and entirely new characters – roughly a 50/50 blend for the main cast. Previously, Goldblum and Pullman have expressed interest in the project, but this is the first report suggesting that Emmerich has included them in his plans for the film – and that he expects they’ll reprise the roles. That said, the director does not outright say the actors have signed contracts – meaning that, until we hear official confirmations, it’s still possible one or both of the characters might not make it into the final film.
Regardless, the most notable omission to the ID Forever crew will be Will Smith’s Captain Steven Hiller - who is not expected to return. In the new interview, Emmerich asserts that they simply cannot afford the actor but the filmmaker was quick to clarify that Smith has not yet read the final script and that a Hiller cameo is still possible – if for no other reason than to “pass the torch” to new cast members.
Regardless of how viewers might feel about Smith these days (considering the amount of backlash aimed at After Earth), Hiller was a fan-favorite character responsible for many of the best (and most memorable) moments in Independence Day. As a result, a cameo by the actor would be a nice way to close-out the Hiller storyline – without requiring the production to front a huge salary.