For anyone who saw Independence Day: Resurgence this past weekend and noticed that the franchise’s first star, Will Smith, wasn’t alongside original cast members Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, and Bill Pullman to fight off aliens once again…we can explain.
“It was one of those things — I had a couple of films lined up, I had Concussion and Suicide Squad, and so it was a decision, timing-wise, between Independence Day and Suicide Squad,” the actor said. “They were sending pictures from the set, and I was like, ‘aww.’”
To address Smith’s on-screen absence, FOX setup a micro-site earlier this year called War of 1996 to explain everything that happened in the 20 years between films, aka the last time humankind had come to total annihilation. Among one of the big reveals? That Smith’s character, Captain Steven Hiller, was now dead.
“While test piloting the ESD’s new alien hybrid fighter, an unknown malfunction causes the death of Col. Hiller,” reads the site.
Back in ’96, Independence Day grossed over $800 million in the worldwide box office and catapulted Smith from Philly rapper and TV jokester to a certified movie star, proving he had serious acting chops.
If you want to catch Smith on the big screen this summer, it’ll have to be in August in Suicide Squad.