Captain Steven Hiller is my favorite Will Smith character, and it's not even close. I could waste a lotta time explaining why, but just watch this instead:
It's all there. The charm, the humor, and the bravado are just bursting off the screen. And to top it all off, the man freaking knocked out an alien within two seconds of laying eyes on it, and then proceeded to sh!t-talk its unconscious ass as he dragged it across an entire desert. Let that marinate for a moment.
So when I heard about Independence Day: Resurgence, yet another long-delayed sequel (Read: franchise reboot via nostalgic rehash) to an awesome movie I loved as a young man back in the 80s and 90s (See: Jurassic World & The Force Awakens), I at least bucked up somewhat, knowing this would mean me getting more Capt. Hiller in my life.
So why'd he pass? First of all, I don't know; there's absolutely no way I could; I am not in the room when such things are discussed. (And now that I've gotten that outta the way, let's get into it.)
Here's the explanation from director Roland Emmerich, featured in Cinemablend:
"In the very beginning, I wanted to work with him and he was excited to be in it but then after a while he was tired of sequels, and he did another science fiction film, which was his father-son story, so he opted out."
Tired of sequels? Hmmm...
Now I can't be certain of this, but I think that first explanation might not be legit, in light of the above information. If this wild guess of mine turns out to be the case, then that leaves the whole "he already did a father/son sci-fi movie" business, which is 100% true. You might have heard of it, actually:
So this reason appears to be much more promising then, doesn't it? Option B here suggests that After Earth was such a massive disappointment that it spoiled Will Smith on the entire idea of any kind of sci-fi father/son dynamic in the future. And considering that movie solely came into existence as a Will Smith designed vehicle for his son's (hopeful) future stardom, then yea, Jaden Smith is inextricably linked to the current lack of more Capt. Hiller in my immediate future.
And if that's not enough, I have an even more fun possibility for you to ruminate on...
A Differential Diagnosis
Are we sure the bombing of After Earth completely wiped out Will Smith's taste for sci-fi father/son dynamics, especially those that could lead to that son's potential future as a movie star? After all, Will Smith isn't exactly known for his reasonable acceptance of failure:
“When I was 15, my girlfriend cheated on me,” the 47-year-old actor said. “And from that moment, in this bizarre psychological twist, I wanted to be the most famous entertainer on Earth.”
Not quite enough to paint the full picture? Try this one:
"The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is that I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, but if we get on a treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m gonna die. It’s really that simple."
Yea, that's the guy we're talking about here. So what if he didn't learn his lesson exactly? What if he was just biding his time, waiting for his next opportunity to accomplish what he failed to do three years ago? What if he was approached by the producers to reprise his role — one now ripe with a father/son dynamic — and seized it? As his star continues to wane, is it really that unlikely he wouldn't pull the "You don't get me without him" card in such a scenario now, knowing he may not ever get the chance again? And that the producers would then quickly remember the smoldering wreckage of what was once a movie called After Earth and respond, "Yea, I think we're good..."?
Look, again, there's no way for me to know any of this; I'm just saying it's in play. And though some of the more studious amongst you out there might fairly point out that Jaden wasn't even born until two years after Independence Day premiered, thus making it ridiculous for him to even be considered an option for the role of Dylan Hiller now, all I can say to that is you clearly haven't seen After Earth.
Because, if you had, you'd know the marathon-level lengths Will Smith has already gone to successfully nepotize that kid. I mean, if this was a treadmill, we might need to have some paramedics on standby.