‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ Teaser Explains Why Dr. Okun Is Still Alive

Independence Day: Resurgence takes place 20 years after the events of 1996’s original Independence Day, so it’s not surprising that there might be a plot hole here and there. However, one of those holes might not be such a huge glaring oversight, as might first be assumed. In the first film, Dr. Okun, played by Brent Spiner, was seemingly strangled and killed, allowing the captured alien to speak through him. It’s a classic scene, allowing the President of the United States (Bill Pullman) to question the enemy. Dr. Okun’s return in Independence Day: Resurgence trailers has raised some continuity questions, however.

A New Independence Day: Resurgence Promo Seeks To Explain Just How Dr. Okun Has Survived

Brent Spiner died a death none of us would want to experience in Independence Day; and, as news of Independence Day: Resurgence began to grow, it was assumed by most that Spiner wouldn’t be returning. Yet, as the first teasers made their way online, fans of the franchise found that Dr. Okun was alive and well. Some explanation was in order.

Expecting fan backlash, the Independence Day: Resurgence producers released a new teaser for the film, this one focusing on Dr. Okun in a mockumentary style look at the life and times of the Area 51 scientist.

“Okun devoted his life to learning all he could about the alien technology, an understanding that would be instrumental in earth emerging victorious from the War of ’96,” a narrator explains in the Independence Day: Resurgence promo. “Tragically, that victory wasn’t without a price as a vicious attack led to critical injuries that placed Okun in a coma, where he’s remained for the last 20 years. Now we hold out hope that this renowned genius isn’t done yet. He’s simply waiting to return. The earth might need a hero once again.”

Brent Spiner has also pointed out that it’s the audience’s own fault for making quick assumptions.

“They always jump to ‘You must be dead’ if you’re lying on the ground,” says the Independence Day actor. “But they’re wrong.”

Roland Emmerich Explains Why It Took 20 Years For An Independence Day Sequel

Roland reveals that Resurgence wasn’t the first attempt at an Independence Day sequel. Early on, just after the success of Independence Day, Emmerich said he and producer/writer Dean Devlin had developed a script for a sequel. After presenting the script to the studio, they had even received payment and the go ahead to begin production; but, Emmerich himself canceled the planned sequel. The Independence Day director said he returned the check and delayed the project, because he felt the script was lacking depth.

It wasn’t until Roland made 2012 and, through working on that film, discovered that CGI technology had developed far enough to match the ambition he had for an Independence Day sequel. Adding new writers Nicolas Wright and James A. Woods, Emmerich and Devlin set to work in creating a story that would reunite heroes from the first film with new stars to be cast in Independence Day: Resurgence.

“It was interesting to explore a generation that grew up in the shadow of what we call ‘the Great War,’ that these were people who lost their families; who never knew a time when there wasn’t an alien threat possible,” said Devlin.

Moving forward with the sequel, the Independence Day: Resurgence writers knew they had to plot out what had become of the central figures from the first film. Among those characters was David Levinson, played by Jeff Goldblum. Levinson is now the director of the Earth Space Defense program, an organization responsible for preventing another alien attack.

“I work with the best and the smartest people to figure out who they were; if they’re coming back; what they’re up to; why really they were here and who we are in the whole tapestry of the universe,” said Goldblum.

Not all of the Independence Day characters have fared as well. Former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) has been all but destroyed from his contacts with the alien species, suffering from a new condition, labeled “Alien Residual Condition”.

“I’m the kind of person who’s loyal, and the first movie was such a good experience that I was a little worried that I’d have to accept something that didn’t really excite me just out of loyalty,” Pullman said, revealing his reluctance at the idea of returning for the sequel. “But it genuinely felt like a part that was different than the first one given the set of circumstances … he starts [‘Resurgence’] as somewhat of a recluse.”

Independence Day: Resurgence hits theaters on June 24.

[Image via Twentieth Century Fox]