It’s curious how 20th Century Fox was able to get away with a whole Q&A live stream (above) for its upcoming Independence Day sequel without anyone answering the only important question: why the hell does this exist? Sigh. In lieu of providing any meaningful reason for the movie’s existence, the cast and director Roland Emmerich appeared on stage in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to reveal some intel on the follow-up.
First up, a title – this new installment has been dubbed Independence Day: Resurgence, presumably because the Alien franchise already took Resurrection. It’s frustrating to see another action tentpole saddled with a painfully generic subtitle, following in the footsteps of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Star War: The Force Awakens and Now You See Me: The Second Act. Still, I guess it’s at least better (if less accurate) than the alternative – Independence Day: Regurgitation.
At the event, which was also attended by actors Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, Sela Ward, Maika Monroe, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, the meaning of the title was discussed. Said Emmerich:
We call [the first attack] in the film the War of ’96. It’s like a post-World generation that’s unified, and that’s amazing to see a world come together with a common enemy. That’s a resurgence.
In the wake of Independence Day, Earth’s nations joined forces to create a global defense initiative that utilizes the same alien tech that was left behind. Goldblum said that his character remains involved in Resurgence by leading the new initiative against the aliens:
It’s my job to lead the way in making sure everyone is safe on this precious planet. Having faced that last challenge, we’re all working in a beautiful way under one [goal]. Borders are no longer relevant in the same way, and that’s a very beautiful idea. We’re working together.
Hemsworth, who plays one of the members of the film’s ‘new generation,’ said that his character has a pretty tragic backstory, but it leads him to a job as a soldier for the defense program:
It’s kind of unlucky how he ends up in that ship. Jake lost his parents in the first attack, he grew up in an orphanage, and eventually joined the military and became a fighter pilot, and eventually became one of the best of the best fighter pilots. I think his ego kind of got in the way, he made a bad decision and put someone’s life at risk, and he got the great job of driving this moon tug, which is basically a forklift on the moon.
Back on Earth, Usher is playing the son of Will Smith’s hero pilot (absent from this film, due to Smith’s decision not to come back) and Fox’s stripper. The latter jokes that she’s off the pole and raising her son to be a hero. Elsewhere, Pullman’s Thomas Whitmore has become a world leader at odds with the new U.S. President Lanford (Ward). His daughter is played by Monroe, who said:
I work with Sela at the White House and have to live up to my dad. He was huge and I want to make him proud and I’m also a fighter pilot. I’m kind of a badass, I think.
Finally, Spiner said that his character will be “as manic and excitable” as ever, though he dodged the question of whether he’s actually alive, given how it appeared that he died in the first film.
I’m still finding it really difficult to get excited for the new Independence Day. The colossal success of Jurassic World means we can look forward to a whole bunch of sci-fi franchise revivals, but this is one that just doesn’t seem like it needs an update. Regardless, Resurgence opens June 24, 2016.