Roland Emmerich’s 1996 blockbuster may have helped catapult him to stardom, but Suicide Squad star Will Smith won’t be involved in upcoming sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, and though we’ve known of his absence for some time, the actor himself has weighed in on the way in which his character will be written out of the story.
As revealed via a viral website set up by 20th Century Fox – aptly titled The War of 1996 – Colonel Steven Hiller met his maker after an experiment with alien tech spiralled out of control. In an interview with Yahoo!, Smith levelled on his reaction to learning of his character’s fate.
“I was working on ‘Suicide Squad’ during that time,” Smith said, referring to the film’s production. “Roland and I had talked about it. The trailer looks really cool. I’m going to be sitting around with tears in my eyes when that one comes out… It was terrible when I found out my character died.”
Set two decades after the beloved original, Independence Day: Resurgence opens in a world transformed by the alien technology that was leftover from the all-encompassing battle for planet earth, and it’s this bleeding-edge tech that allows humanity to ready itself for the imminent, well, Resurgence. Indeed, dabbling with this alien power ultimately led to Hiller’s demise, with the studio’s viral marketing campaign filling in the gaps by teasing that “an unknown malfunction” led to the death of Smith’s iconic hero.
“While test piloting the ESD’s first alien hybrid fighter, an unknown malfunction causes the untimely death of Col. Hiller. Hiller’s valor in the War of 96 made him a beloved global icon whose selfless assault against the alien mothership lead directly to the enemy’s defeat. He is survived by his wife Jasmine and son Dylan.”
In his steed, Independence Day: Resurgence will be headlined by Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher and Maika Monroe, along with a slew of returnees when the sequel looms over theaters on June 24, 2016.