WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
In case you hadn’t heard, Will Smith’s cigar-smoking, alien-killing alter ego Steven Hiller won’t appear in the sequel to the 1996 action classic “Independence Day,” because, well ... he’s dead.
Smith was noticeably absent from the trailer for the film’s sequel, “Independence Day: Resurgence,” which debuted back in December. The clip left many fans wondering what happened to the famed protagonist of the original film.
According to the sequel’s promotional website, Col. Hiller died in 2007 between the events of the first and second films. A headline from a fake broadcast on the website reads, “Alien Tech Malfunction Kills Col. Hiller.”
For the first time, the actor is commenting on his decision to exit the franchise and his reaction upon hearing his character’s untimely fate.
“I was working on ‘Suicide Squad’ during that time,” he told Yahoo Movies. “[’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.”
Dont cry, Will. Don't cry.
According to the New York Daily News, director Roland Emmerich confirmed that Smith would not be part of the film because "he's too expensive" and later told Cinema Blend that Smith opted out because he "was tired of sequels" and had just completed "another science-fiction film, which was his father-son story ['After Earth']."
"Independence Day: Resurgence" takes place 20 years after the first film, when an alien distress signal draws a new force of life-threatening extraterrestrials to Earth, forcing the human race to once again fight for its survival.
Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Vivica Fox reprise their roles from the original film, while Liam Hemsworth and newcomer Jessie Usher (playing Hiller's stepson) round out the new cast.
"Independence Day: Resurgence" hits theaters Jun. 24.
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