In 1996, Independence Day cemented Will Smith's status as a movie star. As the alien-fighting pilot Captain Steven Hiller, Smith proved he was more than just the Fresh Prince — he was an action star. Granted, he had starred in movies before, but none of them have had the staying power of Independence Day. The movie remains one of Smith's most iconic roles, so when plans for a sequel were announced, the first thing fans wanted to know was whether or not Will Smith is in Independence Day: Resurgence .
When the casting for the sequel was first revealed, Smith was not among the big names expected to reprise their Independence Day roles. In 2013, after news of a sequel was announced, returning director Roland Emmerich said publicly that Smith would not be returning, telling the NY Daily News that Smith was "too expensive." A few years later, at a press conference for Independence Day: Resurgence, Emmerich elaborated on Smith's absence from the film, saying that the actor had turned down an offer to return. "In the very beginning, I wanted to work with him and he was excited to be in it but then after a while he was tired of sequels," the director said, according to Cinema Blend.
Still, there's always hope for a cameo, right? Sadly, it's not looking likely. After the first trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence was released, the film launched an interactive website to help fans fill in the blanks on what happened in the fictional world in between the two films. Listed on a timeline of events: "Alien Tech Malfunction Kills Col. Hiller." According to the timeline, Hiller died while testing the "first alien hybrid fighter" in 2007. Ouch.
And in December, Smith officially quashed any hope fans may have of seeing Hiller when he opened up about hearing the news that his character had died. In an interview with Yahoo! Movies , Smith said, "It was terrible when I found out my character died." That said, the actor was nothing but supportive of the film, adding, "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."
Captain Hiller might not be back to save the day, but his wife and son are both characters in the sequel. Vivica A. Fox is reprising her role as Hiller's wife Jasmine, and Hiller's now grownup son Dylan will be played by Jessie Usher. Other returning actors include Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum, so even without Smith, the new film is sure to bring up plenty of nostalgia.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (2)