On the back of the enormous box-office success of Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds worldwide, dollar-hungry producers at Paramount Pictures recently gave the green light to shoot the follow-up, set to feature Tom Cruise as a dashing and fearless fighter pilot. The film has been in production for some five months now and is expected to hit the big screen in time for the summer 2006 blockbuster rush.
The sequel picks up the story 5 years on, in which everyman dockworker Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise), despite helping his kids survive a ruthless alien killing-spree, still has not patched things up with estranged wife, Mary Anne (Miranda Otto). Now an even deadlier alien invasion is promised, with the new killer robots immune to the earth-born bacteria that saw off their predecessors.
A furious Ray, already reeling from a still strained relationship with his kids (Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin) feels he must do something fast, not just to save mankind but also win the love of his family. He decides that the only course of action is to enlist himself in America's most prestigious academy for aspiring fighter pilots in order to teach these aliens a lesson they will never forget. As for what happens next... well we will just have wait and see, won't we?
Despite the fact that the original book, the much heralded classic penned by H.G Wells, did not spawn a follow up itself, executive producer, Chad Simpson argued the first movie was "crying out for a sequel".
"A lot of people were dissatisfied with the ending of the original. I just felt it needed a little tweaking. I mean I'm not one to diss a great book, I've even read Shakespeare and sort of got it".
Simpson went on to outline how audience feedback gathered revealed that 95% percent of people would have preferred to see Ray (Tom Cruise) heroically defeat the bad guys single-handedly rather than, as actually occured in the movie, have the aliens simply self destruct.
"Many many people have complained about the ending. It's our job to address these grievances and what better way to do that than offer a barnstorming sequel with lots of fighter jets and big weapons".
He added, "As good as the first movie was, I thought it lacked a certain something, namely some riproaring airborne thrills and spills featuring character's spouting non-sensical pilot-claptrap such as "Bogey at five o' clock" or "hey Goose man, I think Ice-man's on my tail". The first movie was almost perfect but not quite.
Simpson also revealed that they initially planned to have the Tom Cruise character become a suave barman specialising in preparing elaborate cocktails but decided that Cruise the Fighter pilot would have more chance of saving the world from total oblivion.