When the first teaser trailer for 20th Century Fox’s “Independence Day 2: Resurgence” dropped last month, many fans were disappointed to learn how the upcoming sequel addressed the absence of the 1996 original’s biggest star, Will Smith. Now, after finding out that his character died between the two movies, the 47-year-old “Concussion” actor revealed he’s pretty heartbroken about the decision.
In the original "Independence Day," Smith stole the show and rose to prominence after playing charismatic fighter pilot Capt. Steven Hiller. The character co-piloted an alien spacecraft directly into the mothership and blew it up, saving all of mankind from an invasion. Unfortunately, when the time came to cast the sequel, Smith was obligated to film Warner Bros. upcoming “Suicide Squad” movie. In addition, “Independence Day: Resurgence” director Roland Emmerich previously told New York Daily News that the actor was far too expensive at this point in his career to join the ensemble cast. As a result, the minds behind the new film opted to subtly kill off Smith’s character.
“I was working on ‘Suicide Squad’ during that time,” Smith told Yahoo Movies. “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.”
It appears the actor had to find out that his character was dead with the rest of the fans when the first trailer debuted. Although it was Smith’s choice not to participate in the movie, his character was apparently far too important to the universe that “Independence Day” created to have his absence not be addressed. Fortunately, it seems as though Hiller, despite being deceased, will continue to cast a large shadow of the events of “Resurgence.”
The trailer briefly showed a news report that savvy fans caught, explaining that Captain Hiller died in a test flight. Soon after, an interactive website that explains the history of the world following the 1996 invasion to the modern day elaborated further:
“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,” a fake obituary on the Warof1996 website reads. “He is survived by his wife Jasmine and son Dylan.”
According to E! Online, Vivica A. Fox will reprise her role as Hiller’s wife and Jessie Usher will take on the role of his now grown-up son. Despite the film’s hero dying in 2007, according to the Warof1996 website timeline, his family footprint will still have some kind of impact on the next battle for Earth’s supremacy. In addition, the way that Hiller died is vastly significant as well.
One of the main conflicts in the original film was how woefully outgunned humanity found itself against the invading aliens. According to the film’s first trailer, posted below, humankind got to work in the years since the first movie using recovered alien technology to beef up its own defenses. Hiller, who apparently made his way from Captain to Colonel in that time, was clearly instrumental in that effort. This means that anytime fans see one of Earth’s really cool high-tech fighters in the new movie, they’ll have him to thank for it.
What are your thoughts on the death of Steve Hiller in “Independence Day: Resurgence”? Comment below or tweet your thoughts to @TylerMcCarthy.