Meet the extraterrestrials' worst nightmares
Independence Day Resurgence, which arrives in cinemas this summer, takes place exactly twenty years after the first movie, and during those two decades a lot has changed. The citizens of Earth plotted new defense strategies for any future attacks. A new President came into office. And, oh yeah, the aliens have returned to finish the job they started in 1996. Picking up so far after that first invasion means we won't be seeing all the same people going into battle; a new cast of characters join a smattering of returning stars to lead humanity's charge against those blasted aliens. Who's that then? Find out in our cast guide.
Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison
Thor's brother is the newest kid on the block, Jake Morrison. The rebellious U.S. pilot serves in the ESD - the Earth Space Defense, a global initiative introduced after the first wave of attacks to prepare the planet for a future invasion. He's inspired to sign up due to his tragic past; his parents both died during the events of the first movie. After spending much of his childhood in an orphanage, he vows to get revenge on the beings that left him alone in the world. And apparently he's not your average sky-flier - Morrison is one of the best fighter pilots in the entire U.S. fleet. But, things don't stay that way for long. Hemsworth says at some point Jake "makes a bad decision and ends up being demoted to the moon where he drives what is essentially the same as a forklift." Spotted in the trailer perhaps?
Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson
C'mon, we couldn't have an Independence Day sequel without Goldblum's chatty science whiz David Levinson. This is a guy who managed to infiltrate never-before-seen (and very advanced) alien tech and infect it with a homemade Mac virus. All of which he achieved as a lowly cable company worker. You could say he thinks outside of the box. That's probably why he's now Director of the Earth Space Defense, a role that finds him in charge of crafting hybridised alien vehicles and weapons - just in case those googly-eyed invaders return. Goldblum says it "sort of makes sense too" that he'd be in charge. "Because I was an environmentalist, wasn’t I, which came from a deeply organic place. And I care deeply… about the planet, and the lifeforms on it, including all the animals too. And I don’t like anybody coming and messing with it."
Maika Monroe as Patricia Whitmore
You might expect the daughter of a former President to be sick to the back teeth of the White House. Not Patricia Whitmore. A kid during the first film she's all grown up - and recast - working for the newest President. Some of the time, anyway. When she's not hard at work in the office she takes a more physical role in the fight, as another of ESD's highly-skilled fighter pilots. “I’m quite excited," Monroe says, teasing a stand-out scene she has that's apparently similar to Ripley's performance in Aliens. "You gotta have that, right? You have to have that moment.” After seeing Monroe overcome a stream of random figures pursuing her in It Follows, we don't doubt that she'll be just as impressive here.
Jessie Usher as Dylan Hiller
Dylan Hiller is the son of Will Smith's character from the first film who won't be back because - SPOILER ALERT - he died in between films testing a new piece of anti-alien aircraft. If you thought that'd swear the kid off flying, you'd be wrong. Like most of the young newbies, Hiller suits up and joins the ESD. He's no standard grunt, but the squadron leader of an an elite group of fighter pilots. Seriously, is there anyone in this movie who's not a fighter pilot? It looks as if we'll be seeing him undertake some risky missions in the air, as one shot in the trailer shows his mother desperately trying to flag him down. Will he follow in his father's footsteps and suffer a similar fate?
Sela Ward as President Elizabeth Lanford
Sela Ward plays President Lanford, the successor to Bill Pullman's iconic U.S. leader from the first flick. Whereas the former President took an active role in thwarting the alien insurgents, Lanford adopts a hands-off approach. That's all down to the movie's political climate that's changed considerably in twenty years. One of those biggest changes is Lanford herself, who is the country's first female President. During her term, she's had to face a public consumed with fear. Well, that's to be expected when an alien species nearly wipes out the human race. "In terms of her storyline, it's totally different," says Ward, "because the circumstances are different. We're prepared. We think we are. We hope we are. We're not caught by surprise in that respect. A different time."
Vivica A. Fox as Jasmine Dubrow-Hiller
In the years since we last saw her, Jasmine's given up the stripper pole. Hopefully she's not given up on the survival instincts that saw her come to the aid of injured innocents in the 1996 film - including the First Lady. According to Fox, Jasmine's moved on from making money in the clubs, taking her heart of gold to the medical arena. She's now a hospital administrator in charge of running a major urban facility. She raised her son Dylan on her own since Hiller died and continues to champion his success in the skies: "I am urging him to be a strong leader just like his dad was," Fox says.
Bill Pullman as (former) President Whitmore
President Whitmore's speech, delivered from the back of a ramshackle jeep down an old radio, is the defining moment of the first movie. A call to arms, a rousing declaration of humanity's hope to save the planet from extermination. Ah yes, it was tear-jerking stuff. But now he's stepped down from office, can we expect to see another killer moment like that? Maybe. "I see them in my dreams," he intones in the trailer, his voice shaky and uncertain, a million miles from the confident leader he once was. "They're coming back." He's all grizzled, with a full-on beard, and he appears to still hold some sway over the military's personnel. You can see him alongside uniformed officers in the trailers, and at one point he enters some kind of holding area that his daughter seems unhappy about. Is he going to sacrifice himself for mankind?
William Fichtner as General Adams
Summer blockbusters typically keep Generals locked away in rooms panelled with high-tech gadgets, and give them dialogue that has to be barked at top volume. (I.e. "Fire the laser!") Will Fichtner's General Adams get to do anything else? He's said to play a major role, and even gets his own close up in the trailer to prove it! One thing we know for sure is that no matter what happens - SPOILER ALERT - Adams won't perish in the film. Fichtner signed on for two further sequels back in 2015.
Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish Okun
The doc gave us chills in the first movie when his body was puppeteered by an alien who hijacked his vocal chords to relay a simple message from the aliens. Remember? "DIIIIIIIE." And that's what we all thought he did. “Well that was wrong! What a stupid assumption!” Spiner says. There's not much known about what Okun's been up to in the interim. Presumably he's still obsessed with alien tech as he's enlisted to join David Levinson's ranks in the ESD. “My character does not evolve, in terms of his brain, " the actor adds. "He’s stuck in the ’60s, and that’s a nice place to be.” Right, so he's helping the leader of a global initiative to prevent an alien race destroying the planet... and he's probably trippin' balls? That's promising.
Judd Hirsch as Julius Levinson
The kind, wizened dad of Jeff Goldblum's character returns. He helped out his son in the first movie, lending moral support and assisting in a bunch of shifty activities. It was all cool; he was trying to help save the planet. For the sequel, we know practically nothing about what he's going to be doing. Well, it's not entirely in the dark: we do see him on a boat in the trailer. So we can assume he's... taken up fishing?
Charlotte Gainsbourg as Dr. Catherine Marceaux
Charlotte Gainsbourg, typically seen in Lars Von Trier films in various states of undress, is an unusual addition to a big-budget blockbuster. She’ll likely stay dressed as she plays Dr. Catherine Marceaux, spotted briefly alongside Goldblum's ESD leader in early footage. Her specialty isn't known, nor is her relationship to David Levinson. Let's just hope she doesn't do what she did to Willem Dafoe in Antichrist.
Joey King as Sam
Joey King has worked with Emmerich before on White House Down, so she's no newcomer to his explosive, blockbuster-y ways. Much of her career she's spent in big-budget affairs (The Dark Knight Rises, Oz: The Great and Powerful) along with a few smaller pics like The Conjuring. As for the alien sequel at hand, she plays a youngster named Sam. And that's pretty much all we know. Oh, there's one quick shot of her shown in the trailer where she appears to be having a distressful encounter on a bus. That makes it easier for most of the population to identify with her character already.
Angelababy as Rain
Angelababy's role in the movie seems to be of the supporting variety, based on what we've gleaned from promo materials. She's another ESD pilot who's spotted up in the unfriendly skies taking out alien ships. Will she be successful? Who knows? Perhaps she's this movie's version of Randy Quaid's character.
Patrick St. Esprit as Secretary of Defense
You might recognise Patrick St. Esprit, even if you don't know his name. He's appeared in both indie fare and mainstream stuff including Smokin' Aces, Green Zone, and recently, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire where he played Commander Thread. In Resurgence he tackles the part of President Lanford's Secretary of Defense.