Vivica A. Fox Says ‘Independence Day 2’ Needed Will Smith: ‘I’m Going to Keep It Real’

“We really missed out by not bringing Will Smith back,” the actress says

will smith vivica a fox independence day
Will Smith and Vivica A. Fox in "Independence Day." (20th Century Studios)

In true Vivica A. Fox fashion, she’s keeping it real when it comes to why she believes 2016’s “Independence Day: Resurgence” wasn’t the success it could’ve been: It needed Will Smith.

“I just didn’t feel like it was good and lived up to the first one,” Fox told A.V. Club while promoting her true-crime series “The Interrogation Room.” “I really feel we missed out… by not bringing Will Smith back.”

Will Smith was in talks to return for “Independence Day: Resurgence” (and a third film that was planned at the time) but negotiations fell apart over Smith’s salary.

With Roland Emmerich directing and cowriting the script with Dean Devlin, the sequel took place 20 years after the first. In that time, Smith’s character, Steven Hiller, had died and returning and new characters now had to protect Earth from a new threat.

Fox reprised the role of Jasmine Dubrow. She was joined by returning cast members that included Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. Franchise newcomers including Liam Hemsworth and Sela Ward also joined the sequel.

Without Smith, “Resurgence” would ultimately go on to net a worldwide box office total of $389.7 million (versus the first film’s $817.4 million), against a production budget of $165 million.

“We had most of the original cast on but I think the one true link that was missing to the success of ‘Independence Day 2’ was that… Will Smith wasn’t there,” Fox said. “And I’m going to tell you I’m going to keep it real. I was at the premiere and I was like let’s see how the fans are going to feel about this and sure enough on Twitter they blew me up.”

Today, “Independence Day: Resurgence” has a 29% critics score and a 30% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the 1996 original’s 68% and 75% scores, respectively.