So it’s really happening. A sequel to Independence Day. Sadly, I’m not excited for it. The original is a favorite of mine so, when news first broke about the follow-up, I found it totally unnecessary. Now, as more information comes to light, it’s possible it might not suck, but I’m still less than thrilled.
Director Roland Emmerich is back, and he eagerly shared that the new flick isn’t ignoring the passage of time: Resurgence takes place twenty years after the original. The War of ’96 changed the landscape for humanity besides the obvious fight for survival. “The world is totally rebuilt… Imagine what we would do with alien technology and who would have it.” The nations of Earth have developed a defense program from recovered technology, which is put to the test when a new alien threat makes itself known.
A surprising number of original cast members are returning: Judd Hirsch, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, and Bill Pullman. New faces include Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison, Charlotte Gainsbourg as Dr. Catherine Marceaux, Jessie Usher as Dylan Dubrow-Hiller, and Sela Ward as President Lanford. WOO LADY PRESIDENT!
President Lanford is much more aggressive than former President Whitmore (whose actual role in this film we still don’t know). David Levinson is now the head of Earth Space Defense, while Whitmore’s daughter Patricia is now a special agent under the current president. In this Post-War generation, she and Dylan Dubrow struggle with the shadows cast by their famous fathers. Hemsworth’s Jake Morrison is one of many orphans (probably from the War of ’96) that grew up to be a fighter pilot. He’s stationed on the moonbase as part of an exile/punishment for a mistake in his past.
There’s a big name you may have noticed missing from that list of returning cast members: Will Smith, whose film career was launched by the original. Apparently he was excited to return, especially upon learning there would be a “Father-son” story arc involving Steven and Dylan. But then After Earth bombed at the box office and Smith politely backed out.
Director Emmerich probably has a point that doing the movie with Will Smith would require him being the star, whereas part of the original’s success was its ensemble cast. At least this way they can retain that aspect of the film, but I’m still concerned. “We deal with the disappearance of Will Smith – I don’t want to give it away – but in a very kind of respectful manner and he’s still part of this universe,” Emmerich said. To me, that reads WE KILLED OFF HIS CHARACTER AND LIVING UP TO THAT LEGACY WILL BE PART OF HIS STEP-SON’S STORY.
Personally, I’m more tiffed about the fact that the character Patricia Whitmore will be played by Maika Monroe rather than original actress Mae Whitman. Why? Unlike Smith, who turned down the sequel, Whitman wasn’t even considered to reprise her role. And while Monroe is definitely talented and fresh-faced for a potentially leading role, Whitman has the bigger body of successful work. She would be the smarter choice. But since Patricia may be romantically involved with newbie Jake, it looks like they chose a more ‘conventionally attractive’ woman to share the screen with Hemsworth. That’s sexist as hell, and I’m not the only one up in arms about it.
While I’m at it, was Ross Bagley considered for reprising the role of Dylan? I think I’m the only one to even ask that question. And where’s Margaret Colin as Constance? Did she and David call it quits again? And how in the world is Dr. Okun still alive? Brent Spiner’s character was memorably killed and used as an alien’s speakerphone in the first flick. Is this part of that alien tech they’ve been teasing?
However they choose to to structure this film, I won’t exactly be rushing to the theater to see it. Will you? Independence Day Resurgence is slated for release on June 24, 2016.