BySean Erickson, writer at
Exploring the area between movie geek and film nerd.
Sean Erickson

It's been nearly 20 years since the 1996 movie Independence Day destroyed the box office in epic fashion and cemented Will Smith as a movie star a year after Bad Boys. Inexplicably, 2016 is set to celebrate the two decade anniversary with Independence Day 2, or, if director Roland Emmerich has his way it could be confusingly titled, Independence Day Forever Part 1. But what to call the belated sequel is only one concern that the movie faces.

Independence Day Forever?

In 1996, Independence Day was a huge success primarily for two simple reasons, Will Smith's charming cockiness (a variation on the fighter pilot attitude that shot Tom Cruise to stardom a decade earlier in Top Gun) and the massive special effects display the movie put on when CGI explosions were still "special" enough to get butts into seats. The fact that Will Smith has far outgrown these kinds of shenanigans and there's a new CGI explosion-fest every weekend during the summer makes the success of Independence Day 2 a very uncertain thing.

1 of these guys is returning in Independence Day 2.
1 of these guys is returning in Independence Day 2.

Never mind the fact that this is a sequel to a 20 year old movie. We'll be seeing a sequel to a 30 year old movie in Mad Max: Fury Road - a movie that looks like it could be hugely successful. Not to mention the buzz around the long-delayed Jurassic World. And the central idea to Independence Day, which is that of a disaster movie, could very well prove to be time resistant. There's a glorious, if not exactly prestigious, tradition to disaster movies that audiences are about to revisit in Dwayne Johnson's San Andreas.

Liam Hemsworth, the New Will Smith

And you can never underestimate the pull of 90s nostalgia - already this year we've heard about the return of The X-Files, Full House and possibly Twin Peaks. We've seen that it's never a good idea to call a seemingly dead and buried franchise completely out for the count. Heck, we're getting an Evil Dead television show with Bruce Campbell returning as Ash - who'd of thought? Things like X-Files, Twin Peaks and Evil Dead have iconic, cherished characters that beg to be revisited, but what is it about Independence Day?

Brent Spiner returns for Independence Day 2.
Brent Spiner returns for Independence Day 2.

If there is a beloved character from Independence Day, outside of Will Smith's character, it might be Jeff Goldblum's computer expert David Levinson or Brent Spiner's mad scientist -- so it can be considered good news that both of those characters are returning as well as Judd Hirsh as Goldblum's dad and Vivica A. Fox as the mother to absent Will Smith's step-son, played by Jessie Usher. In a strange bit of casting, Bill Pullman is returning even though his term as president has clearly expired - in fact, Sela Ward will be playing our POTUS this time around. Maybe we'll see the forces of the X-Presidents uniting to help stop the aliens this time around.

20 Years Too Late?

These returning cast members will be joining new comers Liam Hemsworth (likely in the kind of role Will Smith played in the first movie) and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Yes, that Charlotte Gainsbourg - the one from the crazy Lars Von Trier movies - and no, I don't know what she's doing in a sequel to Independence Day either. Perhaps being psychologically terrorized in Lars Von Trier movies has become a bit stale at this point and it's time to get abused by some extraterrestrials this time around.

From early reports on the plot for Independence Day 2, they're actually using the 20 year delay in getting to the screen as part of the story. Apparently the distress signal that the aliens sent requesting some back-up in the first movie is only now getting responded to in Independence Day 2. It maybe kinda makes sense but it's not like there needs to be an iron clad reason to get aliens to show up and start destroying recognisable landmarks around the world. The question is whether this premise is still considered something that audiences will still think it worth showing up to see in 2016.

What do you think? Are you excited by the idea of Independence Day 2? Are you looking forward to more alien intruders blowing stuff up? Let us know what you make of all this in the comments section below!


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