How Dr. Okun Was Able To Return In Independence Day: Resurgence, According To Brent Spiner

Independence Day: Resurgence is the long-awaited sequel to the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. As such, some of the cast from the original movie is returning for the second go around like Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Vivica A. Fox. While fans were disappointed that Will Smith opted not to return – and so, his character was killed off in some promotional material – fans were probably more curious about why Brent Spiner, who's character actually died, was the one coming back.


Brent Spiner’s character in the original film, Dr. Okun, was that hippie looking mad scientist from Area 51 who had been performing an autopsy on a crash-landed alien. Turns out that alien isn’t so dead and it forcibly takes over Okun’s mind so he can give some death threats to Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore. The alien is shot and killed, and the last we see of Okun is his motionless body on the floor while a military man checks his pulse. It’s pretty safe to assume the ordeal killed the scientist, but his appearance 20 years later in a sequel proves otherwise.


Brent Spiner has the answers for how exactly his character lived his up close and personal encounter of the third kind. While speaking with Yahoo Movies, Spiner revealed how exactly his character survived and it’s a surprisingly simple explanation.

People jumped to that. They always jump to 'You must be dead’ if you’re laying on the ground. But they’re wrong. I’m back, I’m alive, I couldn’t be happier. I hope everyone else is, but no one more than me."

That’s about as simple an explanation for resurrection as it gets. You would think alien blood (a popular resurrection method in sci-fi) would have something to do with it, but no, he just never died at all. Further elaborating in the interview, Brent Spiner says that originally they filmed the officer who checks Okun say, "he’s dead", but director Roland Emmerich opted not to use the line in the final edit, leaving Spiner to appear in more sequels. While I can’t imagine anyone thought the sequel would happen 20 years later, it turned out to be a good decision for Spiner.


Independence Day: Resurgence takes place years after the invasion that united the people of earth. Having incorporated the alien technology with their own, humans thought that they’d be ready if the aliens should ever return. They were wrong.


Independence Day: Resurgence stars Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, William Fichtner, Brent Spiner, Sela Ward, Judd Hirsch, and Maika Monroe. The film will hit theaters this summer, June 24, 2016. 

Matt Wood

Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.