Will Smith Absence in Independence Day: Resurgence Reflects Legacy as '90s Icon

News - 6 January 2024
 
 

It is a well-known fact that Will Smith was one of the most iconic actors of the 1990s, with memorable roles in films such as Bad Boys, Men in Black, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. One of his most significant roles was that of Steven Hiller in the blockbuster hit Independence Day. However, when it came time for the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, director Roland Emmerich faced the challenge of not being able to bring Smith back to reprise his role as Hiller.

As Resurgence is set to be released on July 4, the film follows satellite engineer David Levinson, played by Jeff Goldblum, who discovers a massive mothership heading towards Earth. Thanks to the technology salvaged from the previous alien invasion twenty years ago, countries from around the world have come together to create a powerful defense system. When the aliens launch a new attack, it is up to the American president, portrayed by Bill Pullman, along with teams of scientists and fearless fighter pilots, to defend Earth against this seemingly unbeatable foe.

While actors such as Goldblum, Pullman, and Judd Hirsch reprised their roles from the first Independence Day, Smith's character, Steven Hiller, is revealed to have passed away following a failed test of the fighter jets utilizing alien technology. In the time between the two films, Hiller started a family, marrying Jasmine Dubrov and becoming a father figure to her son, Dylan. Dylan is determined to follow in his late father's footsteps and fight alongside the heroes of Resurgence.

There were extensive negotiations with Smith about his potential return for the sequel, leading to two complete scripts being developed – one with Hiller's character included and one without. Ultimately, Smith had to decline the role, citing scheduling conflicts with other projects such as Concussion and Suicide Squad. Smith explained, "It was one of those things: I had a couple of movies lined up, I had Concussion and Suicide Squad, and so it was a timing decision between Independence Day and Suicide Squad.

"Despite Smith's absence, Independence Day: Resurgence promises to deliver the same action-packed and thrilling experience that fans of the original film loved. With a mix of returning cast members and new faces, the sequel explores the continued battle against alien invaders and the determination of humanity to protect their planet at all costs.In the end, while Will Smith may not be reprising his role as Steven Hiller in Independence Day: Resurgence, his legacy as one of the biggest stars of the '90s continues to shine bright.

The film serves as a testament to the enduring popularity of the original Independence Day and the impact it had on audiences around the world. As fans eagerly await the release of Resurgence, they can rest assured that the spirit of Will Smith's character will live on through the actions of his son, Dylan, and the other brave heroes fighting to save humanity from extinction.