The sequel to Independence Day has its official title.
The follow-up will be titled Independence Day Resurgence, director Roland Emmerich revealed in a live stream with the cast Monday.
Fox will release the alien action thriller June 24, 2016, nearly 20 years after the original film hit theaters July 3, 1996. Emmerich is producing with Dean Devlin and Harald Kloser.
The cast assembled for the live stream included new castmembers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe and Sela Ward as well as returning actors Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch, who revealed details of the upcoming sequel.
According to Emmerich, the sequel will take place 20 years after the alien attack that Will Smith‘s and Goldblum’s characters fought off in the first film. In the ensuing time, the human race has joined forces to organize a global defense system using alien technology to preempt future invasions.
Emmerich showed an official title graphic and explained the title in light of the storyline: “We call it in the film the War of ’96. 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.”
Goldblum revealed his scientist David Levinson is the director of the new initiative. “It’s my job to lead the way in making sure everyone is safe on this precious planet. 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,” he said.
Hemsworth shared the backstory of his character, whose name is Jake and who drives a forklift-like “moon tug” for the lunar outpost of the new initiative.
“It’s kind of unlucky how he ends up in that ship,” he said. “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.”
Ward plays the president of the United States. “You know who we have to thank for that? Our fabulous director, forward-thinking, non-sexist, awesome, socially responsible Roland Emmerich,” she said. When asked how her character compared to Pullman’s President Thomas Whitmore, she responded, “Entirely different. It’s a totally different political landscape. She’s tougher, more decisive, not afraid to use force, more aggressive. Sorry, Bill,” she continued.
“Can you fly a jet?” joked Pullman.
Monroe joins the franchise playing the daughter of Pullman’s character. Her character works with the new president. “I work with Sela at the White House and have to live up to my dad. 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,” she said.
Usher spoke similarly of his character, the son of Smith’s fan-favorite fighter pilot. “He grew up in the world that his dad saved, so you can only imagine what being the son of the world’s savior 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.”
His character’s mother is played by Fox, who played Smith’s love interest in the first film. “Twenty years later she’s moved on and she’s working in the hospital, she’s a hospital administrator. She’s doing good things in the hospital, saving lives and raising a very responsible young man, played by Jesse Usher, who I met on Twitter!” said Fox, before ribbing her costar for betting on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
“I don’t know if I’m going to have any great hair moments in the tunnel again, but they’ve definitely written her very strong and with great moments, and more importantly, to be the backbone behind her son,” she continued.
Spiner, whose character appeared to be killed in the first film, said his character would be “as manic and excitable” in the new installment (and would have a different hairstyle). He sidestepped the question of whether the character would be, in fact, alive — but said working with the first film’s cast again was like “like swimming in a rainbow with thousands of naked cherubs.”
The Q&A included the recently announced cast member Angelababy, who plays Rain, a fighter pilot the Chinese actress called a “tough girl.” Among the principal cast, only Charlotte Gainsbourg was not present.
Watch the video title treatment:
Watch the full live stream, which begins at about 57 minutes: