Nearly 20 years after the original sci-fi epic, Roland Emmerich has signed on to direct Independence Day 2 for 20th Century Fox. Dean Devlin, producer of the original movie starring Will Smith, is also returning and confirmed the news on his Twitter account this week.

Roland EmmerichRoland Emmerich is directing Independence Day 2

The movie has a release date of June 26, 2016, meaning Emmerich and Devlin are going to have to get moving - sharpish. The sequel will take place in an alternate reality where humans have enjoyed 20 years of peace since the alien invasion featured in the first movie.

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However, according to the New York Daily Post, Will Smith is now "too expensive" and will not return for the sequel.

"Smith can not come back because he's too expensive, but he'd also be too much of a marquee name. It would be too much," said director Emmerich.

Jeff GoldblumHurray! Jeff Goldblum is returning as MIT graduate Dave Levinson for Independence Day 2

The filmmaker said roughly half of the original cast will not be returning, though Jeff Goldblum  - who played MIT graduate Dave Levinson - will reprise his role.

"I had a meeting and have been talking over the last several months or year with Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the producer," the actor said back in October. "They've been cooking up and say they have a part for me in what they hope will be a plan to make another one pretty soon."

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Emmerich had originally planned the sequel as a two-part movie, Independence Day Forever Part I and II, though whether this is still the plan remains to be seen.

As well as Will Smith punching an alien in the face, Independence Day is best remembered for Bill Pullman's classic Presidential speech in front of the White House.

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