'Independence Day' Sequel Picks Up 20 Years Later

When it was first announced that the 1996 alien invasion film Independence Day would be getting a sequel next year, many film fans and industry insiders groaned. Really? An Independence Day sequel? It’s been 20 years. How would that even work?

Then we got the synopsis:

Using recovered extraterrestrial technology, the nations of Earth collaborate on an immense defense program to protect the planet. When the aliens attack with unprecedented force, only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can save the world.

That added some promise. Coupled with returning cast members Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum, one could divine that the sequel involved an Earth fortified by two decades of reverse-engineered alien technology, ready to put up a much better fight.

Twentieth Century Fox has released their first trailer for the new film, and the premise in action looks better than some may have imagined. Director Roland Emmerich appears to be avoiding camp and balancing nostalgia with a new presentation.

Notable by his absence is Will Smith. Independence Day marked Smith’s transition from television actor and hip-hop artist to Hollywood megastar. With so many older celebrities returning to the franchises where their names were made, one might expect Smith to jump on this opportunity, especially considering his steady decline in recent years. But it may turn out that his absence is purposeful, playing a role in the story of his character’s son, now grown-up and following in dad’s jet wake.