Get ready, fans: Independence Day: Resurgence is hitting the screen exactly 20 years after the release of the first film. A lot has changed in the past two decades, both onscreen and off, and so there are plenty of differences between the worlds of Independence Day and its sequel. One of the most notable differences is the fact that, in Resurgence, Will Smith's character has been killed off and Liam Hemsworth is the new lead. But another cast change that has made waves is the addition of Maika Monroe as the President's daughter. It's a known fact that Smith isn't in the movie because he himself chose not to appear, but why isn't Mae Whitman in Independence Day: Resurgence , playing the President's daughter instead of Monroe?
This is the question that has been on everyone's minds ever since it was announced in April 2015 that Monroe would be playing the role that Whitman had debuted 20 years before. io9 reported that director Roland Emmerich said Whitman was replaced because she didn't want to read for the role, which would be a plausible reason for the Parenthood star's absence. But other media outlets have speculated that the real answer is more distressing. Bustle has reached out to Fox for comment, but hasn't heard back at this time.
When The Hollywood Reporter announced Whitman's replacement by Monroe, they also mentioned the other actors who were considered for the part, namely Lucy Boynton, Merritt Patterson, Gabriella Wilde, and Britt Robertson. It is notable that all of these women are not only talented performers but conventionally beautiful according to societal standards, a fact that did not go unnoticed. Soon, websites such as HitFix and E! News were speculating that the casting decision was based on sexist ideals of what a Hollywood leading lady — and love interest for Hemsworth's character — should look like, and that Whitman wasn't asked to reprise her role because she didn't fit the bill.
That said, there's no knowing for sure what the reason was, yet that didn't stop the outrage at Whitman's replacement from picking up steam. Fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment and to question 20th Century Fox's decision. One such Twitter user was none other than Anna Kendrick, who shared an article about the casting and added some strongly-worded commentary of her own.
Kendrick's tweet also referenced a fact that other publications had pointed out: Whitman's 2015 movie The Duff was a commercial success, and she is a bona fide Hollywood figure. So the fact that her name would possibly not even be on the short list for a movie role (a role that she already played, even) can't be excused by any argument that she wouldn't be able to carry the movie.
What does Whitman think about all of this? The actor has not publicly issued a statement, but her social media activity would suggest that she shares the Internet's feelings about her replacement by Monroe. Whitman retweeted the HitFix article as well as Kendrick's tweet, and then tweeted at Kendrick, "Man. I love you to death kid. :,)." This reaction at the new casting doesn't seem to be that of an actor who reportedly "didn't want to read for the part," but there's no way of knowing exactly what took place.
If the decision to recast Whitman's role was in fact motivated by the desire for a more conventionally attractive leading lady, it's a sad statement on the superficiality of the entertainment industry. But although Independence Day: Resurgence won't be on her resume, Whitman's career is moving forward at warp speed.
Images: 20th Century Fox, Anna Kendrick/Twitter