Aside from taking to Twitter for casting announcements, director Roland Emmerich has largely kept his Independence Day (1996) sequel under wraps. That all changed last week when he joined his cast on stage for an exclusive press conference to share some details, including the film's title – Independence Day Resurgence.
Emmerich confirmed what had initially been reported that the sequel is set 20 years after the events of the original, with humanity banding together to fight off a new wave of alien invaders. "We call it in the film the War of '96," said the director. "It's like a post-World generation that's unified, and that's amazing to see a world come together with a common enemy. That's a resurgence."
Jeff Goldblum's David Levinson is back, this time very much in charge of the effort to protect the world. "It's my job to lead the way in making sure everyone is safe on this precious planet," said the actor. "Having faced that last challenge, we're all working in a beautiful way under one goal. Borders are no longer relevant in the same way, and that's a very beautiful idea. We're working together."
Among the new faces this time around is Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), who plays a character named Jake, working an advanced vehicle called the Moon Tug on the lunar surface (see the picture below) "It's kind of unlucky how he ends up in that ship," Hemsworth explained. "Jake lost his parents in the first attack, he grew up in an orphanage, and eventually joined the military and became a fighter pilot, and eventually became one of the best of the best fighter pilots. I think his ego kind of got in the way, he made a bad decision and put someone's life at risk, and he got the great job of driving this moon tug, which is basically a forklift on the moon."
Sela Ward (The Day After Tomorrow) is playing the current American President, and revealed that she was happy to see a woman in the White House. "You know who we have to thank for that? Our fabulous director, forward-thinking, non-sexist, awesome, socially responsible Roland Emmerich," she said, explaining that her commander in chief is an even tougher type than Bill Pullman's Whitmore, who is still around in this film.
Then there is Jessie Usher (When The Game Stands Tall), as Dylan Hiller, son of Will Smith's (who does not appear) fighter pilot Captain Steven Hiller. "He grew up in the world that his dad saved, so you can only imagine what being the son of the world's saviour is kind of like. It's a lot of pressure, he's under that shadow, but it's not a negative thing at all. He took it for what it was and made a good thing out of it."
Maika Monroe (It Follows) also knows something about pressure for her character, former President Whitmore's daughter Patricia, seen as a young girl (and played by Mae Whitman) in the original. "I work with Sela at the White House and have to live up to my dad," she said. "He was huge and I want to make him proud and I'm also a fighter pilot. I'm kind of a badass, I think."
Independence Day Resurgence is due to arrive in cinemas 24 June next year. If you want to watch the entire press conference live stream, you can check it out below.