Will Smith Talks Steven Hiller’s Fate Before Independence Day: Resurgence

Even though we’ve known Will Smith bowed out of the sequel for a while now, when 20th Century Fox revealed the first trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence, many fans who don’t read the trades were probably wondering where the star was. Later, a viral website detailing the alternate history of the Earth in the wake of the first film revealed Smith’s character, Steven Hiller, had perished between the two films. Although director Roland Emmerich had previously blamed everything from Smith’s asking price to his overwhelming star power to his reluctance to return to sci-fi due to After Earth bombing, the Fresh Prince has now gone on record to Yahoo! on why he doesn’t appear and how he feels about the fate of his character.

“I was working on ‘Suicide Squad’ during that time,” Smith said, referring to the film’s production. “Roland and I had talked about it. The trailer looks really cool. I’m going to be sitting around with tears in my eyes when that one comes out… It was terrible when I found out my character died.”

We’re sure it wasn’t an easy decision for Smith to turn his back on the franchise that made him a superstar, and that inner debate was felt by the production itself as screenwriter James Vanderbilt penned two different screenplays for the film, one including Hiller and one not. Ultimately it was the latter script that will make it to the screen, and while the track record for action sequels without the original star character is spotty (xXx: State of the Union, Predator 2, Terminator Salvation, Speed 2: Cruise Control) we’re hoping the ID4 sequel can operate independently from Smith.

Dated April 27, 2007, the ID4R site read as follows: “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.”

Vivica Fox is set to appear in the film as Jasmine Hiller, while Jessie Usher will play the role of Dylan. Also starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Maika Monroe and Sela Ward, the new entry in the franchise is officially described as follows:

We always knew they were coming back. After Independence Day redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global spectacle on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.

ComingSoon.net had the privilege of visiting the Albuquerque set of Independence Day: Resurgence this summer and we’ll be bringing you lots of behind-the-scenes surprises between now and the film’s release in theaters on June 24, 2016.

Twenty-two years in the making, Independence Day: Resurgence features a script by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin and James Vanderbilt, James A.Woods & Nicolas Wright.