As a big budget sci-fi blockbuster revolving around a small band of humans trying to fend off the threat of an alien invasion that premiered over the July 4th weekend, Amazon’s The Tomorrow War was always going to invite at least some comparisons to Independence Day, but the former made a point of name-dropping Will Smith as being dead in the 2051 timeline.
The similarities between the two projects even extend to their stars. Smith first rose to prominence as part of a small screen sitcom, before cracking the A-list by headlining two massive box office hits that took place in a sci-fi sandbox, via Independence Day and Men in Black. Meanwhile, Chris Pratt firmly put his Parks and Recreation days behind him by taking top billing in Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, instantly cementing himself as a major Hollywood force.
In The Tomorrow War, Sam Richardson’s Charlie exclaims his relief that Will Smith isn’t alive to see the battle-ravaged city of Miami, and given the movie’s rules of time travel, that means he was either killed in battle or passed away in the 30-year gap between the two timelines. Not only that, but Edwin Hodge’s Dorian also says “Welcome to Miami” when the crack squad arrive in the future.
As well as a potential nod towards Smith’s “Welcome to Earth” line from Independence Day, it’s also a famous lyric from his smash hit 1998 song “Miami”, adding another meta layer to the name-dropping. Of course, he’s no stranger to being casually dismissed as dead, having been killed offscreen in between the events of Independence Day and sequel Resurgence, so The Tomorrow War isn’t even the first movie to highlight his demise in an off-handed manner.