It's hard to believe, but the world almost ended twenty years ago. Remember? There was a large scale alien invasion across the entire globe, and the nations of the world united thanks to the President of the United States giving the speech to end all speeches. Thankfully, humankind was able to repel the extraterrestrial invaders, and the world was saved. Oh wait, I'm thinking of the movie Independence Day, which came out in 1996. Now the sequel is arriving in theaters, and people are wondering how long after the first movie Independence Day: Resurgence is set.
In an example of art imitating life, the new Independence Day film is keeping with real time and taking place 20 years after the original. The first movie came out in 1996 and was set that same year, while the new movie makes its debut in 2016 and chooses the current year for its setting as well. Not only do the aliens in the new film attack Earth again twenty years after their first invasion, but they do so exactly two decades later on July 4, while the world is commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the humans' victory over the aliens in the first film; a detail that is revealed in the film's trailer.
So what's changed in the past 20 years? Well, just going by what's been revealed in the trailers and marketing material for the film, the armies of the Earth have since been united as the Earth Space Defense, which has outposts on the moon, Mars, and elsewhere in space to serve as a first defense against another invasion. Humans have also appropriated the aliens' weapons technology, hypothetically better preparing Earth to defend itself against another assault. But that idea gets tested when the aliens return, finally answering a distress call that was sent out prior to their first defeat in '96.
The events of the first film are now referred to as the War of 1996, and there's a whole viral marketing website set up that's full of information about the world of the past twenty years, with an interactive timeline that allows fans to see all the milestones that have taken place since the war. For instance, did you know that it was January 8, 1999 when alien shield technology was first outfitted to an F22 Raptor? Or that on August 8, 2001 a five year ground war broke out in the African Congo between alien survivors there and local forces? Or that on March 1, 2013, Elizabeth Lanford was sworn in as the first female President of the United States? Well, now you do.
By setting the new film in 2016, twenty years after the original, the movie sets up a fun alternate history that gives fans an in-depth look at what the world would be like following the War of 1996. It's a pretty clever strategy, and one that should translate into big box office numbers.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy