Yesterday, we got the first trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence. And while the sneak peek was an exciting nostalgia trip back to 1996, you may have noticed one key element missing. There was no Steven Hiller. Will Smith opted not to return for this long awaited sequel. So, what happened to his character? A new viral site for Independence Day: Resurgence has launched, and it has our explanation. Warof1996.com offers us an alternate history of the United States, following the July 4th attack that devastated the world. And within the various slides presented on the site, we get to learn what happened to Steven Hiller, who so valiantly fought to save mankind. Let's just say he won't be back for Independence Day 3, which is already in the works. Dated April 27, 2007, we learn this about Hiller's ultimate fate.

"While test piloting the ESD's first alien hybrid fighter, an unknown malfunction causes the untimely death of Col. Hiller. Hiller's valor in the War of 96 made him a beloved global icon whose selfless assault against the alien mothership lead directly to the enemy's defeat. He is survived by his wife Jasmine and son Dylan."

Vivica A. Fox returns to reprise her role as ex-stripper Jasmine in Independence Day: Resurgence. And Jessie Usher takes over the Will Smith role as son Dylan Hiller. We got our first look at Dylan in yesterday's teaser. It also brought our first look at new cast members Liam Hemsworth and Maika Monroe. They will be fighting this alien attack alongside returning cast members Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum.

When Independence Day: Resurgence begins, we will learn that a small squad of Alien resistance fighters still survive in an isolated area of the African Congo. Though, the majority of the alien threat has been neutralized around the world. Earth has risen from the ashes. And a grand reconstruction has started as the great cities, monuments and landmarks of the world are slowly restored to their former glory. It is now twenty years after that initial attack. And the aliens are coming back ready for revenge.

The near annihilation of humankind has given the world an unexpected but welcome effect as centuries old conflicts and political distrust are dissolved to create an unprecedented unity among the nations of the world. Following the newly established global peace alliance, the United Nations creates the Earth Space Defense program (ESD) to serve as an early warning system and united global defense unit. War of 96 hero David Levinson has been appointed as its Director. In conjunction with this announcement, the ESD launched a worldwide publicity and recruitment campaign.

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Three years after the War of 1996, the ESD applied recovered alien shield technology to an F-22 Raptor to understand how they can better integrate other alien technology into future full Hybrid Fighters. This light experiment serves as the foundation for the dramatic innovations that the ESD will deliver nearly a decade later in Independence Day: Resurgence. You can read more about what happened following the 1996 attacks HERE. The viral site completely breaks down the events leading up to the sequel, and how the world had prepared for the aliens return. If you missed the trailer yesterday. you can watch it again right here.

Cinemark Movie Club
B. Alan Orange