They better have called whoever rebuilt the White House after the first Independence Day, because filming has officially begun on Independence Day 2. We don’t know yet if the same race of extra-terrestrials is returning in the sequel, or if their vendetta against the human race and neo-classical architecture endures. But we do know that the cast will include a mix of the actors that made the first installment great alongside some surprising additions and substitutions.
This news comes nearly twenty years after the debut of the original film, which grossed $817.4 million and earned an Academy Award in the best effects, visual effects category. The sequel is set to be released in June 2016, and is being directed by Roland Emmerich, who directed the 1996 original. And Emmerich is not the only member of the 90’s team that is returning: two of the returning cast members are Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum, both of whom have performed for WordTheatre events in the past. It would be difficult to imagine a successful Independence Day sequel without these two actors, and honestly, who wouldn’t re-elect Bill Pullman for president after he successfully fended off an alien invasion? But there are also a few notable names missing from the list of players.
Will Smith is not listed to return in the new film, and Mae Whitman, who has also performed with WordTheatre, is not returning to her role as the president’s daughter. The character Patricia Whitmore, who was practically a toddler when her father led the first campaign against the space creatures, is the female lead of the upcoming film and will be played by Maika Monroe. Some are concerned that adding too much new blood to the mix may bring down what seems to be, based on the prequel’s success, a winning formula. However, the freshmen to the franchise are not freshman on the big screen. Monroe built a reputation in horror films when she carried the film It Follows to box office triumph. Time.com credits Monroe’s skillful work and “unique style” for sending the film “from a first-weekend release in four theaters to a third-weekend showing in more than 1,200.” And the actor set to play Monroe’s love interest is Liam Hemsworth, whose achievements in the world of blockbusters are virtually unquestionable.
Longtime fans of Independence Day, which is a pretty accurate description of most movie-going people, have little to fear when it comes to the sanctity of this sci-fi gem. Even peripheral, though nonetheless vital, characters such as Judd Hirsch as David Levinson’s sassy father will be returning for the sequel. And the new faces will likely only improve on what we can now call the Independence Day Franchise. And if this news has got you craving some great performances by actors listed above, there’s no need to wait until June 2016: check out Whitman’s amazing performance for WordTheatre, which is available for download at Audible.com.