The spectacular first trailer for Independence Day debuted during Super Bowl XXX on January 28, 1996, a day that will live in infamy for movie lovers. The trailer featured disaster on an unprecedented scale as an alien race launched a coordinated attack upon mankind; it's safe to say that the special effects sent a thrill down the spines of everyone who saw it.
We've seen so many epic scenes of mass destruction over the 20 years since, made possible by advances in visual effects, that it's harder and harder to get that kind of reaction. Director Roland Emmerich made several action blockbusters seeking to duplicate the worldwide success of Independence Day -- Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 -- but fans still cried out for a sequel to the alien-invasion tale that imagined a ragtag group of survivors could defeat an implacable foe, urged onward by the stirring words of President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman): "We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"
Finally, the long-awaited sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, is finally heading to theaters and the first trailer has arrived.
As we might have expected, the movie takes a darker tone, beginning with the opening moments as Jeff Goldblum is transported to a remote location to examine evidence that the original alien invaders will be making a dreaded return visit to planet Earth. Goldblum is not the only returning cast member; Bill Pullman also can be seen (and heard) as President Whitmore, this time delivering a speech that sounds more desperate than defiant.
Judd Hirsch, who played Goldblum's father in the original, is also back, this time on a boat. We can also expect to see Brent Spiner and Vivica A. Fox, though Will Smith declined to return. New cast members are given individual moments onscreen: Liam Hemsworth (as a pilot), Jessie Usher (as a pilot who's also the stepson of Smith's character), Maika Monroe (as Whitmore's grown-up daughter), Angelababy (as a pilot), Sela Ward (as the current president), and William Fichtner (as a general). It looks like Goldblum and Hemsworth will be teaming up against the aliens, as teased in the image above, as they appear to head to the Moon.
The sequel will miss Smith's comic energy, but if it's taking as dark a turn as it looks, the loss may not be as severe as it might have been anticipated. Instead, the focus appears to be almost entirely on the battle against a known, deadly threat; we don't expect to see anyone punching an alien in the face and saying, "Welcome to Earth!" as Smith did in the original.
Look for Independence Day: Resurgence in theaters on June 24, 2016.