Will Smith
“Sorry guys, I gotta go save the world somewhere else.” ©20th Century Fox

Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Will Smith was THE action hero of the moment, of a stature (arguably) equal to that of Tom Cruise’s. A lot of it had to do with Independence Day (1996), where he starred as daredevil pilot Captain Steve Hiller, which went on to gross more than US$817 million worldwide.

READ ALSO: WATCH: Singapore destroyed in Independence Day Super Bowl trailer

Remember when Will Smith punched that alien, then stuck a cigar in his mouth and declared, “Now, that’s what I call a close encounter.”? Or when he flew that alien ship? Or helped upload that virus into the aliens’ computer system? He won’t be doing any of those things in Independence Day: Resurgence, because his character’s dead.

So why isn’t Smith in the sequel? He explained in a recent interview that it was all down to scheduling conflicts:

“It was one of those things. I had a couple of films lined up. I had Concussion and Suicide Squad. So it was a decision, timing wise, between Independence Day and Suicide Squad.”

READ ALSO: The Suicide Squad trailer as summarised by Reddit

So Will Smith made the practical decision in the end – to go with a brand new franchise that will likely spawn at least one sequel, rather than return to a sequel that’s 20 years in the making. Expectations will also be higher, since it’s coming in the wake of movies such as Cloverfield (2008), Battle: Los Angeles (2011) and Pacific Rim (2012), all of which have excelled at the alien/monster invasion genre.

In any case, Smith’s better known for his dramatic roles these days, snagging Oscar nominations for Ali (2002) and The Pursuit of Happyness (2007), and impressing with his recent role in Concussion (see our review). Still, it would have been lots of fun to see him reprising that role as the brash, cocky pilot.

The Independence Day: Resurgence Singapore release date has been set for June 23. Also, check out our list of 20 geek movies you must absolutely watch this year.