The trailer for “Independence Day: Resurgence” dropped unexpectedly over the weekend (watch it here if you haven’t seen it), and one question that some had was why Will Smith’s character from the first film isn’t in the trailer, and apparently not in the upcoming movie.
As writer/director Rolland Emmerich said a long time ago, the 2 sequels would be “a bit like the sons takeover,” meaning Will Smith probably wasn’t expected to be part of the sequels in the first place – at least, not in any meaningful way – and the storylines for each film will instead focus on a new generation of human heroes, including Will Smith’s character’s eventual stepson (Vivica Fox’s kid) in “ID4” (who was played by Ross Bagley, now 26 years old). Jessie T. Usher is playing the part in the upcoming first sequel.
But wait, there’s more…
20th Century Fox, the studio behind the movie, has created a website devoted to explaining the key events of the fictional “War of 1996,” retelling the plot of the original film in which mankind unites to successfully fight off the extraterrestrials, along with a timeline of what came after that fills in the gap between the first film, and the upcoming sequels. And on the site – which you can access at warof1996.com – it is said that Will Smith’s Col. Steven Hiller was killed in 2007 while test piloting the first alien hybrid fighter due to an “unknown malfunction.”
In addition, the site says: “Hiller’s valor in the War of ’96 made him a beloved global icon whose selfless assault against the alien mothership lead directly to the enemy’s defeat… He is survived by his wife Jasmine and son Dylan.”
So he’s dead. Easy way to tie that up I suppose.
And that’s that.
Or might it all be a game Fox is playing with the audience, and Hiller does appear in one (or both) of the 2 sequels, even if it’s only in flashback sequences. But ultimately, the franchise will be fine without Smith. It was more of an ensemble cast project anyway, with the special effects and aliens contributing to the thrill of it.