There was no real surprise when Independence Day 2 was announced. With the original 1996 movie having seen huge box office success, discussions about a possible sequel have rumbled on for years. Its twentieth anniversary year seems fitting, then, to finally revisit the story of a world uniting (behind America, obviously) against an extra-terrestrial threat. The surprises of the sequel lay in the casting announcements, however.
Independence Day featured an impressive ensemble cast – in the vein of the great disaster movies of a bygone era, such as The Towering Inferno or The Poseidon Adventure. Despite this, the plot really centred on two main characters – David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and Captain Steve Hiller (Will Smith). Ultimately, Levinson would couple his own technical expertise with the piloting talents of Hiller to save the world from annihilation by a hostile alien threat. The makers of Independence Day 2 quickly confirmed that, while Jeff Goldblum would be reprising his role as David Levinson, Will Smith would not be signing on to the project – which would pick the story up 20 years later.
Many other cast members from the original movie are returning with Goldblum – Vivica A. Fox playing Hiller’s bride, Jasmine; Bill Pullman as the now former President Whitmore; Judd Hirsch as David Levinson’s father, Julius; Brent Spiner as scientist Brackish Okun. There has been some controversy over returning characters that have been inexplicably re-cast, however – notably the children. In the original, the President’s daughter, Patricia Whitmore, was played by actress Mae Whitman – but she has now been replaced by Maika Monroe (It Follows). The character of Dylan Dubrow – stepson of Captain Hiller (Will Smith) – was originally played by actor Ross Bagley, who has now been replaced by Jessie Usher (When The Game Stands Tall). Many fans have expressed disappointment over what they perceive to be the rejection of two of the talented performers that helped create the original, blockbuster hit.
There are several other new faces joining the Roland Emmerich-directed sequel, including Liam Hemsworth as the romantic interest for Patricia Whitmore, and Sela Ward as U.S President Lanford (yes, a female President) – but it is the picture Instagrammed by writer-producer Dean Devlin that has the attention of the fans now.
The picture shows Jeff Goldblum getting to work, in front of what appears to be a special effects screen. No plot detail, no spoilers – just Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson on the set of Independence Day 2. Until marketing gears up ahead of its June 24th, 2016 release date, that’s really all we need.