It was hard to deny the bro-tastic chemistry between Will Smith‘s swaggering Steven Hiller and Jeff Goldblum’s tree-hugging David Levinson in the original 1996 movie Independence Day. As 20th Century Fox dropped the first trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence over the weekend, the main question everyone has is “Where is Will Smith?” While the trailer doesn’t mention his fate, the movie’s backstory does, and you’re not going to like the answer.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Independence Day: Resurgence has a large publicity push through social media and the viral website The War of 1996, which details historic events between the first movie and the sequel. Those who were hoping for Hiller and Levinson to share one more cigar after vanquishing the alien threat will be disappointed, since the website claims that Hiller was killed during a flight test in 2007 involving a new hybrid fighter which contained both human and adapted alien technology. The website calls Hiller “a beloved global icon” and opens the door for Hiller’s son, played by Jessie Usher, to take his place and kick some more alien butt.
Perhaps Hiller met such an end due to the protracted and ultimately fruitless negotiations between Smith and director Roland Emmerich. According to MTV News, Emmerich left the door open for Smith’s return as long as humanly possible before moving on to the inevitable. The rest of the original cast signed on quickly to the sequel, including Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch and Goldblum, whose character is now director of the international Earth Space Defense (ESD) agency.
Even without Smith, Independence Day:Resurgence looks amazing. The threat is bigger, the alien ships are bigger and the battles will be bigger because the ESD now has bases on our moon, Saturn’s moon and Mars. If we’re lucky, we’ll even get one more spine-tingling speech from Pullman’s former President Whitmore. If this flick does especially well, perhaps Smith will be tempted to come back for the third installment and the ESD will find Hiller miraculously living as a hermit in the desert.