Will Smith first established himself in the music business as part of the duo D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. His friendly, relaxed persona translated easily into television stardom in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, starting in 1990. He then ventured into feature films with several supporting roles, most notably in the edgy drama Six Degrees of Separation.
Smith's performance in Michael Bay's Bad Boys, second-billed to Martin Lawrence, showed that he was fully capable of shining in leading roles and he cemented that perception in Independence Day (1996). Earning top billing for the first time, Smith's charismatic swagger as Captain Steven Hiller energized and grounded the movie; he was convincing both as a family man and as a self-sacrificing military man ready to give his life in behalf of mankind. His ability to develop a great line -- "Welcome to Earth!" -- with sharp humor gave the often dire disaster movie a glimmer of satisfying comic relief.
The giant-sized box office success of Independence Day opened up new opportunities for Smith and he took full advantage, delivering winning performances in Men in Black, Enemy of the State and many more in the years to come. He has not been entirely adverse to sequels, but recently he has been drawn more to original projects so it was not entirely surprising to hear that he turned down offers to star in the long-awaited Independence Day: Resurgence.
Still, that doesn't mean the actor is not interested in what will happen in the movie. Smith said in a recent interview with Yahoo Movies: "'I was working on Suicide Squad during that time,' he said, referring to the film’s production. '[Independence Day director] Roland [Emmerich] 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… It was terrible when I found out my character died.”
The fate of Smith's character was revealed in an official viral site for the movie: "While test piloting the ESD's first alien hybrid fighter, an unknown malfunction causes the untimely death of Col. Hiller."
We will definitely miss seeing Smith as Hiller in the new movie, though his character lives on in the person of his son Dylan Hiller (Jessie Usher); Hiller's lady love Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox) is also featured. Independence Day: Resurgence will open in theaters on June 24.