Independence Day co-screenwriter/director Roland Emmerich has confirmed a handful of cast members for the sequel (scheduled to arrive in 2016) – and now, that includes more than one person who also costarred in Emmerich’s original 1996 alien invasion blockbuster. However, there is one Independence Day star we can safely say will not be appearing in the followup (despite them being a pivotal character in the first movie): Will Smith as hotshot pilot Steven Hiller.
That Smith isn’t coming back for Independence Day 2 is old news at this point. Production on David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (featuring Smith as DC comics character Deadshot) will be getting underway around the same time that Emmerich is going to be filming his Independence Day sequel – call it the final nail in that coffin. All the same, Vivica A. Fox will return as Jasmine Dubrow in Emmerich’s new sci-fi tentpole (without her boyfriend-turned husband Steven).
Emmerich, as has become his common practice now, confirmed Fox’s return for the Independence Day sequel through his Twitter account (and Fox publicly responded in accordance):
Jessie Usher (Survivor’s Remorse) is confirmed to be playing the grown-up version of Jasmine’s son, Dylan, in the Independence Day sequel. It’s not clear yet if Fox will be getting nearly as much screen time in the followup as she got in Independence Day – after all, in that film, Jasmine had a whole subplot of her own. Regardless, the character ought to be of some importance to the story this time around, what with her son lined up as a key player. Not to mention, the sequel is still expected to be an ensemble piece, similar to its predecessor.
So far, we know Fox and Usher are going to be joined by the following cast members in Independence Day 2:
- Jeff Goldblum, confirmed to be reprising as tech genius David Levinson (with Judd Hirsch potentially reprising as David’s father).
- Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) as one of the new characters in the sequel.
- Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac), who’s also playing a new addition to the Independence Day franchise.
- Bill Pullman – currently unconfirmed, but Emmerich has said he will return as (now, the former) U.S. president Thomas J. Whitmore.
The plan with Independence Day 2 (in its current iteration, anyway) has always been to feature a combination of new faces and returning cast members – which, thus far, is exactly what we’ve seen happen with this sequel. It’s an approach that should allow the sequel to both draw on the nostalgic appeal of this franchise, while also appealing to a new generation less familiar with the original 1990s film – and maybe, just maybe, lay the foundation for a third installment at the same time.
Emmerich’s script for Independence Day 2 – which he co-wrote with past collaborators Dean Devlin and James Vanderbilt (White House Down), among other screenwriters – will reportedly pick back up in the modern-day, where humanity no longer actively lives in fear of another impending extraterrestrial attack. Of course, that will be before the remainder of the invading aliens – who have been traveling through space the past twenty years – come knocking at Earth’s door.
Beyond that, details on the project are under wraps for now. Still, Emmerich’s big-budget spectacle-driven tentpoles in the 21st century (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) haven’t varied that much in terms of their campy, popcorn entertainment value – and Independence Day 2 shouldn’t have trouble clearing that bar, either. Similarly, even if the Independence Day sequel falls well short of its predecessor at the box office (the original film grossed $817 million worldwide in 1996), it still ought to end up making a tidy sum in theaters.
Independence Day 2 opens in U.S. theaters on June 24th, 2016.
Source: Roland Emmerich/Vivicia A. Fox
Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy