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Will Smith's Independence Day Character's Fate Revealed

Well, it's finally here: the long-awaited sequel to 1996's action classic Independence Day is coming back in the form of 2016's Independence Day: Resurgence. Jeff Goldblum! Bill Pullman! Judd Hirsch! Those three actors are back! Not back? Will Smith, whose wisecracking fighter pilot Steven Hiller was arguably one of the most important elements to the first film's success. Since the first Independence Day, Smith has gone on to become one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, but he couldn't (or wouldn't) make it work in terms of coming back for the sequel. So how does Resurgence explain Hiller's absence? And what would've been better? Spoilers ahead...

Hiller Dies In Some Dumb Accident…

As part of the promotion for the new flick, 20th Century Fox created a website called Warof1996.com, which details the events of Independence Day and its aftermath as if they actually happened. There, we learn what happened to Hiller: "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."

…Even Though He's Pretty Un-Killable

In Independence Day, Hiller is one of the few pilots to survive his encounter with the alien spaceships. He out-flies the enemy, crash lands in the desert, and then literally punches an alien in the face and drags him for hours to a secret military base. Then, he flies an alien craft into space, docks with the mothership, and manages to outrun a nuclear explosion in space, landing safely moments later to light up a victory cigar. The very notion that some kind of "unknown malfunction" could really take him out is completely absurd. Sure, the filmmakers needed to find a way to dispatch Smith's character "off-camera," but this smacks of laziness. Instead, why couldn't Hiller have left the movie in these ways...

What About Health Problems?

When someone survives huge action or combat, it seems as though they can never really get taken out. That makes death outside of combat all the more poignant and meaningful. Even if Hiller manages to survive the alien onslaught and save the world, it would be so tragic and human if he actually dies of a heart attack, or heart disease. It would even make sense considering the guy's love of cigars, which are none-too-healthy for humans. And considering Hiller's charmed life when it comes to fighting aliens, it's not a stretch to imagine a post-war diet of nothing but waffles and bacon cheeseburgers. After all, if you helped beat back an alien invasion, you'd probably feel like you deserved to indulge in your vices, too.

Or A Botched Robbery?

Again, surviving an alien invasion means you probably feel like you can take on any threat. So if someone were to break into Hiller's home and threaten his family, it wouldn't be hard to imagine him ending up on the wrong end of a gun. After all, it's been 20 years since Independence Day. Hiller couldn't have retained his youthful strength and agility after all this time, so a home invasion gone wrong could certainly be a sadly ironic way for the hero of 1996 to go down fighting. Moreover, a violent robbery—the result of humans being awful to each other—would be even sadder when considering how humanity came together to fight the alien menace.

Maybe A Mysterious Disappearance!

While Will Smith didn't want to be in this movie, there's no reason to believe that he's out forever. Why not make Hiller's absence part of a mysterious disappearance? After all, we're dealing with sneaky aliens here. We wouldn't put it past the extra-terrestrial terrorists to abduct Hiller as part of a revenge plot against the man who helped dismantle the first invasion force. Moreover, Hiller's mysterious vanishing act could set up mysteries that could be solved in another sequel sometime down the line. And if Smith didn't want to come back for a third Independence Day film either, you bake that into the story. Maybe the aliens grab him and experiment on him, turning him into something new and creepy. Then you can get any ol' actor and just stick a bunch of makeup on him!

Perhaps It's All A Fake Out

The ultimate troll move, of course, would be to have some kind of explanation for why Hiller isn't going to be in Independence Day: Resurgence, and then put him in there anyway. After all, movies nowadays are notorious for fake-outs and swerves. Famous appearances and cameos are par for the course, and it still seems pretty unlikely that Smith won't make a comeback to one of the franchises that made him the star he is today. Maybe this whole "unexplained alien tech malfunction" death is just a smokescreen to catch us unawares for when Smith shows up on-screen. Let's hope that's the case, since the explanation we've gotten is really, really lame.