Roland Emmerich's long-awaited sequel to his 1996 sci-fi disaster movie blockbuster Independence Day will be with us in June. Here's our run-down of the new and returning cast of what Independence Day: Resurgence, certain to be one of 2016's most explosive box office hits, and why they're so well suited to their roles.
Reprising his role from the first film, Jeff Goldblum always gives great boffin. Remember his chaos theorist in the first two Jurassic Park movies? His satellite technician David Levinson kicked off the plot of the original Independence Day by discovering the hidden transmissions in Earth satellites that act as a countdown to alien invasion. It's safe to assume that Levinson will have a key role in detecting the new threat to Earth in the sequel, which is set 20 years on from the events of the first film.
Will Smith isn't returning for the sequel. Instead, talented young American TV star Jessie Usher brings a fresh new face to the cast as the stepson of Smith's fighter pilot. It's part of a conscious decision by Emmerich to introduce a new generation of alien-bashing heroes.
Bill Pullman is back as Thomas Whitmore. But he's no longer the President of the United States. That's hardly surprising really, as no president serves a 20 year term. But we can presume that the wise old buzzard will have some sage words of advice for his successor (see below). And, it turns out, Whitmore still shares his psychic connection with the aliens that he picked up in the first movie...
Hot from the Hunger Games franchise, hunky Liam Hemsworth is the most high-profile addition to the cast as fighter pilot Jake Morrison. As Gale Hawthorne, he's already taken part in an epic war so should be perfectly suited to battling an alien invasion fleet. Hemsworth jumped at the chance to take part, as the first film is one of his all-time favourites – even though he was only six years old when it was released.
Meet the new president of the USA! That's right – there's a woman in the White House. Assuming it's been rebuilt after the events of the first film, that is. Sela Ward was last seen on screen as a news-hungry anchor in Gone Girl. And, of course, she's already faced a global catastrophe as Dr. Lucy Hall in Roland Emmerich's earlier The Day After Tomorrow.
Vivica A. Fox
Back in 1996, Vivica A. Fox played Jasmine Dubrow, the single mother girlfriend (and later wife) of Will Smith's character. In the sequel, her little boy is now all grown up and, played by Jessie Usher, has a key role in fighting those alien invaders. But will Jasmine still be plying her trade as an exotic dancer? In fact no: she's now working in a hospital, as a shot in the new trailer (scroll down) makes apparent.
Taking over from Mae Whitman, It Follows scream queen and co-star of upcoming young adult novel adaptation The 5th Wave Maika Monroe plays Patricia, the daughter of now ex-president Whitmore. Given the gung-ho nature of some of her previous roles – remember how she shot bad guy Dan Stevens in The Guest? – we can expect her to get stuck in to those pesky alien invaders alongside the rest of the next generation cast.
The British-French arthouse star of Nymphomaniac and Melancholia makes her US blockbuster debut in Resurgence. Little has been revealed about her role, apart from the fact that she plays a character named Dr. Catherine Marceaux.
The exotically named Chinese model and actress who's been dubbed the Kim Kardashian of China, joins the next generation cast as a pilot called Rain. Her Hollywood debut was a small role as Agent 47's handler in Hitman: Agent 47, but she's appeared in several well-received action movies back home, which should have given her ample preparation for kicking serious quantities of alien bottom.
Hang on a minute – wasn't hairy Area 51 boffin Dr. Brackish Okun polished off by an alien in the first film? Well, it appears he's not quite as dead as we thought, as Brent Spiner is back in the role for the sequel.
Another cast newcomer, William Fichtner plays General Adams. This isn't entirely new territory for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles actor, and marks something of a promotion from Michael Bay's world-smashing Armageddon – in which he played a relatively lowly colonel. Fichtner also starred in the cult US science fiction series Invasion, as the sheriff of a small town that's taken over by alien invaders.
Independence Day: Resurgence beams onto our screens on 24th June 2016. Check out the trailer.