07/27/2012 09:52 am ET

'Independence Day' Sequel Screenwriter Gave Back Paycheck After First Attempt At Sequel

Lest you think the "Independence Day" sequel is going to be another craven money grab from a desperate Hollywood studio looking to make a quick buck (in this case, Twentieth Century Fox), Dean Devlin is here to set you straight.

The screenwriter -- who co-wrote the original "Independence Day" with director Roland Emmerich -- has such high standards that he actually returned his paycheck after making an initial pass at the sequel.

"Ten years ago I was hired to write a sequel to 'Independence Day' and they paid me a lot of money," Devlin told ComingSoon.net. "After I finished the script, I gave the money back and I said, 'Don't even read the script. The script is okay, but we can't make an okay sequel to 'Independence Day.' This is what gave me a career. The fans deserve better than this."

Devlin tabled the "Independence Day" sequel for almost eight years after that, but was called back to action by Emmerich about 18 months ago. The results were decidedly better.

"I feel like we got it," Devlin told THR in early July. "I think it took a long time, but I feel like we finally got something that really feels like, 'That’s worth seeing as a sequel to 'Independence Day.'"

Of course, being worthy and actually happening are two different things entirely; even Devlin admits he isn't sure if "Independence Day 2" will ever get off the ground.

For its part, Fox is hoping to make it work. The first "Independence Day" was a massive phenomenon, grossing $817 million worldwide in an era before 3D surcharges, IMAX popularity and Will Smith. "Independence Day" helped make the erstwhile Fresh Prince one of the biggest stars in the world, a title he still holds as evidenced from the $619 million worldwide gross of "Men In Black 3."

Back in October of 2011, Vulture reported that Fox looking to produce two "Independence Day" sequels -- with or without Smith as the star. Whether Smith returns is unclear, but it wouldn't be the first time the actor went back to a franchise after a prolonged absence: He appeared in "Bad Boys II" eight years after the original film, and "Men In Black 3" ten years after "Men In Black 2."

For more from Devlin, head over to Coming Soon.

[via Coming Soon]

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