20th Century Fox
You did your country proud, Steven Hiller.
Will Smith has confirmed that he will not be reprising his iconic role from 1996's Independence Day when its sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, hits theaters on June 24. The actor, 47, was noticeably missing when the follow-up's trailer debuted in December 2015. Some fans held out hope that Smith's character would return as a surprise, but alas, the sequel's promotional website reveals that Col. Hiller died in 2007 between the events of the first and second films. A headline from a fake broadcast on the website reads, "Alien Tech Malfunction Kills Col. Hiller."
Hiller's obituary on the War of 1996 website reads: "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 his son Dylan."
Smith was just as shocked as fans to learn of his character's fate.
"I was working on Suicide Squad during that time," he told Yahoo! Movies.
In fact, Smith said he and Independence Day director Roland Emmerich "had talked" about working together on a sequel. "The trailer looks really cool. I'm going to be sitting around with tears in my eyes when that one comes out…It was terrible when I found out my character died."