Will Smith in Independence Day 2

When the trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence debuted during a football game yesterday and came online shortly thereafter, a lot of people on social media were asking about Will Smith. If you’ve been following the development and production road for the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster sci-fi action hit, then you already know the actor won’t be appearing in the film. But how will his absence be explained in the story? Now we have answer.

Along with the trailer yesterday afternoon, 20th Century Fox launched a new viral website detailing the events of what is being called the War of 1996. That’s when the aliens first invaded Earth and killed millions (maybe billions). Here’s how the website details the attack:

idr-warof96-attack

But we all know about that. What we don’t know about is what has happened in the 20 years since the alien attacks. Information about the story of Independence Day: Resurgence has revealed that in the wake of these alien attacks, the world united to form Earth Space Defense in 1998, a program designed to prepare for the return of the aliens or any other intergalactic threat. Jeff Goldblum‘s character David Levinson has been named as director of the program:

idr-warof96-esdformed

However, while the world has come together after the devastating attacks on the world, there has still been loss since then. One of the heroes of the War of 1996, Colonel Steven Hiller (Smith), was killed while testing the world’s first alien hybrid fighter, a jet that uses alien technology to make it more advanced. Here’s that timeline point from the site detailing why we won’t see Will Smith in Independence Day 2:

idr-warof96-hillerdeath

This is a bit of a disappointing fate for Steven Hiller, though it will likely be an integral part of his son Dylan’s (Jessie Usher) character dynamic throughout the film. Instead of flat out killing Hiller, I wish they would have sent him on some kind of mission with a group of fighters to try to find the alien planet. That way he could just be gone for years, his absence still felt, and due to relativity, could potentially come back without having aged at all. But instead, he’s just dead.

There are a bunch more cool little details to help give you some backstory on the last 20 years of what’s been happening on Earth since the War of 1996, so check out the slick site right here if you want to know more. Here are some of the points highlighted by the Independence Day Twitter page:

That group of aliens still hiding out on Earth somewhere in the Congo is an interesting little detail. I wonder if we’ll see a team put together to find them and take them out. Plus, it should be interesting to see what other technological advances are made after we looked into alien tech. Stay tuned to find out what else we learn about the sequel in the coming months.

Independence Day: Resurgence arrives on June 24th, 2016.

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