It’s been 20 years since Independence Day was released in theaters, and the same amount of time will have passed in that world as well when Independence Day: Resurgence begins. For us, the first movie was merely one of the most explosive blockbuster of the ‘90s, but to the folks in that fictional world, July 4, 1996 marked the day when aliens invaded Earth and society was forever altered. To mark the 20th anniversary of the victory over the extraterrestrials, a new Independence Day: Resurgence video is taking a look at how the world changed over the last two decades.
This United World News special report, titled, “The War of 1996,” kicks off with snippets of then-President Thomas J. Whitmore’s inspirational speech to set the stage of where humanity found itself on that fateful day 20 years ago. Following the aliens’ defeat and reconstruction everywhere, the world’s governments came together in 1998 to establish a new global peace alliance. These “newly united nations” subsequently created the United Global Defense Unit, which is dedicated to protecting Earth from all kinds of threats.

The report then shifts focus to Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson, who uploaded the computer virus in Independence Day that disabled the alien ships’ force fields. In 2016, Levinson is the director of the Earth Space Defense (ESD), an international and collaborative effort that’s meant to keep Earth safe, namely from what lies beyond our world. Their accomplishments include setting up a military base on the Moon and orbiting units that pack a powerful punch. Thanks to studying all the alien technology left behind in the War of ’96, humanity has a better arsenal with which to defend itself.

To bolster the ESD, the United States military and other military forces around the world joined the organization. It’s there we meet Jessie Usher’s Dylan Dubrow-Hiller (the stepson of Will Smith’s Steven Hiller), Liam Hemsworth’s Jake Morrison and Angelababy’s Rain Lao, just three of the many pilots who fly the hybrid fighter jets that can travel through space if necessary. The video ends with reporter George Ropata reminding viewers what President Whitmore said before: it’s not a matter of if the aliens return, it’s when. Smart man.

We’d already caught glimpses in the Independence Day: Resurgence trailers of how Earth rebuilt itself following the first movie, but this video cemented just how different Earth has become. While 1996’s Independence Day merely offered a take on what aliens invading Earth might look like in the present, the 2016 sequel now offers moviegoers a world that feels slightly more (pardon the pun) alien than our own. New alliances, better technology and a united focus against extraterrestrial threats have helped unify Earth in ways that were never thought possible. 20 years after the first invasion, humanity is about to be tested again, as the second group of invaders has arrived, and they’re much bigger than their predecessors. 

Independence Day: Resurgence hits theaters on June 24.

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