At the time of writing this, production is underway on Independence Day 2, the sci-fi sequel that will open in theaters two decades after co-writer/director Roland Emmerich’s 1996 alien invasion tentpole became a massive box office success and helped make Will Smith a proper A-lister. Smith is currently playing Deadshot in the ongoing Suicide Squad movie shoot, but most of his ID4 costars are involved with the Emmerich-helmed followup.
The Independence Day sequel cast includes returning players Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner. Meanwhile, the list of newcomer actors joining the franchise in its second installment include Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), Jessie Usher (Survivor’s Remorse), Joey King (Fargo TV series), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac), Maika Monroe (It Follows), and Sela Ward (CSI: NY).
Independence Day 2 producer/co-writer Dean Devlin has posted a photo from the film’s set, showing himself with Goldblum. You can check that out, below:
A seemingly official plot synopsis for the Independence Day sequel has popped up in several locations online (including on Rotten Tomatoes), though 20th Century Fox may release a more detailed story breakdown sometime in the near future. Either way, the following summary appears to be accurate (as we’ll discuss in a moment):
We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global catastrophe on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.
Emmerich previously confirmed that by the time the Independence Day sequel picks up (some fifteen years after the first movie, according to Vivica A. Fox), humanity will indeed have utilized the recovered extraterrestrial tech to build a defense against future attacks when the invaders’ reinforcements arrive, following many years of space travel. The film will also reveal more about the aliens themselves (such as their battle tactics and history) in a way that could lend itself to further examination in later movies; though, for now, only two Independence Day films are planned and Emmerich’s original plan for a two-part sequel has been placed to the side (at least until Independence Day 2 box office results are in).
Independence Day 2 is a somewhat unique 1990s brand revival, seeing as it features most of the property’s original crew working on both sides of the camera. Something like Mad Max: Fury Road has shown that great things can happen, when a seasoned filmmaker gets a chance to revisit one of their older creations and bring it back to life using the modern toolkit that’s now at their disposal (improved CGI, 3D tech, high-frame rate cinematography, and so forth).
But, then again, Roland Emmerich is a very different storyteller than George Miller, and the world has changed a lot since Independence Day opened in the mid-1990s. The narrative for the sequel is aiming to reflect modern times with its character elements (that includes having a woman as U.S. president and a gay couple as main characters), but it remains to be seen if the action and sci-fi mythology is all that much of an improvement – or if this film ends up feeling as overblown and hollow as many of the Emmerich’s effects-driven disaster movies released in the 2000s (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012).
Independence Day 2 opens in U.S. theaters on June 24th, 2016.