We already knew Will Smith decided not to come back for Independence Day: Resurgence. So how did the producers write off the alien-beating hero?
Along with that surprisingly great trailer that dropped over the weekend, the studio has also launched an immersive alternate reality website that fills in the gaps between the first film and Resurgence. It’s a fascinatingly ambitious bit of world-building, but one of the most interesting tidbits falling in the fictional 2007.
Turns out Smith’s hotshot pilot Steven Hiller (a renowned war hero at this point in the timeline) was killed during a malfunction while testing an alien aircraft. The headline read: “Alien Tech Malfunction Kills Col. Hiller,” which seems like a sad but noble ending for the fictional war hero. The full report notes:
“While test piloting the ESD’s first alien hybrid fighter, an unknown malfunction causes the untimely death of Col. Hiller. 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. He is survived by his wife Jasmine and son Dylan.”
Along with Hiller’s death, the timeline also hits a few other highlights that will almost certainly play a major role in the film. After the alien ships went down, virtually all of Earth’s governments decided to quit fighting over pretty things and get along. They team up to launch the Earth Space Defense (ESD) Program, and put David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) in charge. This agency leads a push to take advantage of all that leftover alien tech and eventually opens a moon base in 2009 (which can be seen in the trailer).