If 20th Century Fox had it their way, “Independence Day” could have looked a lot different.

While celebrating the hit film’s 25th anniversary this year, director Roland Emmerich and producer-writer Dean Devlin joined The Hollywood Reporter for an oral history of the movie, revealing they fought hard with the studios to cast Will Smith alongside Jeff Goldblum.

But despite the constant pushback from Fox, Emmerich and Devlin ultimately got Smith in the film.

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“Ethan Hawke was on our list too, but I thought at that time he was too young,” Emmerich said. “It was pretty clear it had to be Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. That was the combo we thought. The studio said, ‘No, we don’t like Will Smith. He’s unproven. He doesn’t work in international [markets].’”

Devlin added, “They said, ‘You cast a Black guy in this part, you’re going to kill foreign [box office].’ Our argument was, ‘Well, the movie is about space aliens. It’s going to do fine foreign.’ It was a big war, and Roland really stood up for [Smith] — and we ultimately won that war.”

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“It was pretty shortly before the shoot and we still hadn’t locked in Will and Jeff,” Emmerich concluded. “I put my foot down. ‘Universal people are calling every day, so give me these two actors or I move over there.’ I don’t think it would have been a possibility [to actually move studios], but it was a great threat.”

At the time of its release, “Independence Day” not only grossed $817 million worldwide, but it became the highest-grossing film of 1996 and the second highest-grossing movie in film history worldwide, falling only behind Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park”.