When Independence Day 2 was announced, we all scratched our heads and wondered if it was really necessary. Turns out, it kind of is.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not crazy about reboots and remakes and sequels. Stop regifting, Hollywood. You can wrap it in a different package, but it’s still the same movie we saw 20 years ago.
But what if it’s not? Independence Day: Resurgence is shaping up to be a proper sequel to a 1996 classic sci-fi film that starred Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith. After watching the trailer, I’m convinced this movie is going to be a great followup to the original.
“But, Karen,” you may say in your kindest and most non-sarcastic voice, “didn’t you just complain about the Mummy reboot?” Why, yes, not-a-troll commenter, I did.
The problem with rebooting The Mummy is that it came out 16 years ago and it’s a remake of the original, a film that I and many other people adore. They’re wiping the slate clean and starting over. It’s like they’re trying to erase the original film’s existence.
Resurgence, on the other hand, pays homage to the original Independence Day. It’s not trying to make us forget it ever existed. In fact, it’s playing up the original events of the first movie to explain the actions of the people in the sequel. Their website is called War of 1996, after all.
And let’s pause here to talk about the website because holy hell it’s amazing. You can listen to President Whitmore’s speech to your heart’s content (because let’s be real it never gets old) while you peruse the timeline of events that’s happened since 1996. In 1998, the Earth was united and the Earth Space Defense program was established, with David Levinson appointed its director. By 2006, all aliens had been wiped from Earth’s surface, and we were using alien technology to build weapons to fight against them.
The website even explains the loss of Will Smith’s character, Colonel Steven Hiller, who died during a training exercise for a new alien aircraft they were testing. By 2009, we have a base on the moon and several other planets to assist in defending our home. We stand united, aware, and safe until 2016. That’s when they return, like we always knew they would.
This is what makes Resurgence so brilliant. It knows 20 years has passed since the first movie and it’s filling it with detailed and logical events. It tells us what the human race has gotten up to and how they recovered from the first attack and prepared for the next one.
Independence Day 2 isn’t trying to wipe the slate clean and it isn’t trying to tell us the same story it told us in 1996. Our heroes already know aliens exist, and though this is another invasion story, they’re more prepared than the first time. The stakes are also higher — because although we’re more prepared, so are the aliens.
Resurgence isn’t going to be perfect. For one, it won’t be starring Will Smith. The loss of his character is a huge hit for the sequel, but it’s not a death sentence. They’ve explained his absence, and while his death during a training exercise (rather than battle) is unfortunate, it does happen to even the best soldiers and the best pilots. Besides, do you know anyone else willing to jump into that craft to test it? Of course Hiller would’ve been the one to volunteer. Not to mention Vivica A. Fox’s involvement gives us hope that Hiller’s bravery is honored throughout the film.
Plus, we do have a whole slew of cast members returning for the sequel, including the other star of the show Jeff Goldblum. He will, hopefully, be this movie’s saving grace, as his involvement in the initial events coupled with the actor’s brilliant talents on screen will likely drive the story forward in more ways than one. He’ll be joined by Bill Pullman as President Whitmore (who, unfortunately, looks to be in rough shape during the trailer). Judd Hirsch will reprise his role as David’s father Julius, as will Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish Okun, and John Storey as Dr. Isaacs.
Starring alongside Goldblum will be Liam Hemsworth, who needs no introduction for the Hunger Games fans in the audience. William Fichtner joins as General Adams, Joey King will play Sam, and Sela Ward portrays President Lanford. Maika Monroe will be replacing Mae Whitman as Patricia Whitmore, the former president’s daughter, and Jessie Usher replaces Ross Bagley as Dylan Hiller, the Colonel’s son. Both of these characters seem to have significant roles in the film.
So, no, maybe we never expected to get a second Independence Day movie, but everything we’ve seen so far promises a film that not only pays tribute to the original, but builds upon it and gives us something new.
After all, if Star Wars can do it…