I’m sure we all remember where we were when it happened. As for me, I was at home fussing over an article I was working on with the television in the den on for background noise. Then it happened. Whatever news segment I was not really watching cut to break and some music erupted from a black screen with bits of speech interspersed.
“We found something out here. Something only you might understand.”
“Oh my God.”
“I spent 20 years trying to get us ready for this. We used their technology to strengthen our planet.”
And then the intro sequences began to roll.
“But it won’t be enough.”
There it was. The trailer for the sequel to Independence Day had been released. For those of you with actual lives who didn’t catch it, let’s just take a moment to soak it all in.
In the background, a revamped version of The Speech plays.
Today you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate…
But will we?
Look… I’m not here to tell you that Independence Day was the best movie of all time. It wasn’t. Casa Blanca was obviously better. Patton also. Plenty of others could make the list. But the first I.D. was definitely one of my favorite movies and a real popcorn worthy event. I bought not one, not two, but three different versions on DVD. I freely admit there are a couple of spots in the movie where I cry when I watch it. If you don’t agree, then you should probably not only stop reading right now, but pack your things and move to Canada because you clearly hate America and want the terrorists to win.
I’m not willing to believe that this sequel is going to suck. I think it’s going to be awesome and will continue to believe this until I actually see it. But there are some definite gaps in the plot coming our way, and the big one is that Will Smith is not in the trailer. The heroic pilot is also not in the film. Time explains what happened to him.
Smith, whose Marine pilot hero character Col. Steven Hiller helped save the world from invading aliens, decided not to sign on for the movie, which hits theaters June 24.
In the new movie’s story, his character was killed in 2007 while test piloting the first alien hybrid fighter due to an “unknown malfunction,” according to 20th Century Fox. The film company created a website devoted to explaining the crucial events of the fictional “War of 1996,” recounting the plot of the original film in which mankind unites to successfully fight off the extraterrestrials, along with a timeline of what came after.
“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,” the site says. “He is survived by his wife Jasmine and son Dylan.”
It’s still not entirely clear why Smith didn’t sign on for this, but I don’t much care. After a couple of his recent outings in the sci-fi genre (not mentioning any names here) perhaps it’s for the best. Besides, pilots may not be front line, hand to hand soldiers, but they still need to stay in top flight shape and Captain Hiller would be getting a bit long in the tooth by the time the next battle takes place given the story’s timeline. There will be plenty of other familiar faces, though, including Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica Fox, and Judd Hirsch. Some new folks are joining the main cast as well.
I don’t often get this excited for an upcoming film these days. I won’t be going to see the new Star Wars film. (Okay… maybe I will, but I’ll wait until all the crowds have thinned out.) But this is Independence Day. I’ll stand on line if I have to, even at my advanced age. We’re in a time period when we could use a little more Rah Rah Go America and that’s what Independence Day was all about.