The 2015 Summer Blockbuster Season may have only just begun, but it's never too soon to start looking ahead. That said, the cinematic forecast for summer 2016 looks as explosive as ever and promises little change to the norm - with a 100% chance of superheroes, robots, and fresh installments in popular action/adventure franchises.
One of those sequels is 20th Century Fox's long-gestating Independence Day 2, sans Will Smith. Director Roland Emmerich is back, along with a mix of returning actors, new players, and the same hellbent aliens (they recently renewed their contracts). Aside from casting announcements and the unusually ahead-of-schedule production start, little has been revealed in the way of story details - leaving many wanting more details about the followup.
Franchise veteran Vivica A. Fox - who played Smith's girlfriend-turned wife Jasmine Dubrow in the original Independence Day - offered insight on the sequel's timeline during an mLive interview, where she said that “The aliens are back, and it’s about 15 years later." We're guessing the aliens aren't too pleased with the remodeled White House, either (with Sela Ward (Gone Girl) now serving as president in the Oval Office).
This doesn't exactly tell us that much about the Independence Day 2 plot, but fans can most likely expect a return to form - with a group of unlikely, outgunned humans who take a valiant stand against the advanced alien race - plus a few new tricks (i.e. better digital effects). Now that Smith is out of the picture, Independence Day 2 will follow two new young leads: Liam Hemsworth as an unspecified human survivor and Jessie Usher as the grown-up version of Dylan (played by Ross Bagley in the 1996 film), Vivica Fox's onscreen son.
Fox told Blackfilm that Usher "has all the wonderful qualities that will remind [audiences] of Will". Fox also dished on her own character and where she will be - or will not be - when the sequel begins.
I will not be on the poll. She was a stripper with a heart of gold, and who had said that she was doing it because the money was good. Now she's a hospital administrator and she's running the hospital, and I'm glad that they moved her character forward as a woman.
Considering the inevitable physical harm the aliens will bring upon humanity, Fox's updated role as a hospital administrator could place her at the center of the attack - and provide the actress with a meaningful arc not directly tied to either her husband or son. Indeed, with big-budget spectacles, it is often the characters themselves who get lost among the smoke and soot; so giving Fox - and the other new leads - a strong, complex role to work with may only enhance the film's appeal.
That said, the sequel certainly has a lot to live up to after the box office domination of its predecessor, which grossed $817 million worldwide in 1996. With new characters, stronger returning players, and a more in-depth alien mythology, the second installment has the potential to avoid simply retreading the past. Plus... the aliens will probably be trying extra hard to actually win this time.
Independence Day 2 is set to invade theaters on June 24th, 2016.