‘Independence Day’ Sequel: How Will Smith’s Character Died

Will Smith

It’s official: Will Smith is not returning to the Independence Day franchise in the upcoming sequel.

Reports of his involvement (or lack thereof) with the follow-up sequel to the 1996 Roland Emmerich-directed film have circulated online for months. However, recent reports shine a new light on what happened to Smith’s heroic character.

According to Time, Captain Steven Hiller – Will Smith’s character in the first film – was killed during a test flight back in 2007. The report states that Hiller lost his life while testing the first alien hybrid fighter, which apparently experienced a mysterious “malfunction.”

20th Century Fox developed a website devoted to the fictitious battle known as the “War of 1996” which explains the key events that have transpired in the two decades that have passed.

According to the timeline, Hiller’s tragic death occurred on April 27, 2007 – an event which was covered heavily in the media along with a report published on the website.

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

Fans and critics familiar with the first Independence Day film know that Will Smith’s character played an instrumental role in the battle against the aliens.

Smith’s character piloted the alien aircraft directly aboard the mothership. Jeff Goldblum’s character, computer expert David Levinson, served as his co-pilot, but his primary objective in Independence Day was to infect the mothership with the computer virus he created.

Even though it was Russell Casse (played by actor Randy Quaid) that fired the final blow by sacrificing his own life, Hiller and Levinson were the only surviving heroes that made it back home to Earth.

Steve Hiller may have died between the first and second Independence Day films, but quite a few other stars apparently survived.

According to the plot synopsis and first official trailer, it is evidently clear that David Levinson will play an instrumental role in the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence.

Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) is featured in the sequel alongside his father Julius (Judd Hirsch), former U.S. President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman) and Hiller’s widow Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox).

Those original characters and stars of Independence Day will join newcomers Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), Dylan Dubrow-Hiller (Jessie Usher) and Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe) along with a host of other actors and actresses.

Jessie Usher

Jessie Usher, the leading man of the Starz television series Survivor’s Remorse, opened up in an August interview with Madame Noire about his role as Hiller’s adult son.

“Well, I’m playing Dylan Hiller… At this point, this movie is coming out 20 years after the first one came out. It’s sort of like, a post-alien attack world. Most of the world was destroyed in the first one so now everybody is unified and all of that kind of stuff. As far as Dylan goes, he’s following in his dad’s footsteps by joining the military and now he’s a fighter pilot. He’s handling business. He’s the man.”

Independence Day: Resurgence will debut in theaters on June 24, 2016.

[Image Credit: Diane Freed/Getty Images]