It has been nearly two decades since Independence Day was released on the summer movie public. It was the movie that turned writer/director Roland Emmerich into the big-budget spectacle filmmaker that we know him as today. On the eve of the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, it's an appropriate time to take a look back at the people who made up the cast of the original film.

One of the most interesting things about the cast of Independence Day is that, while the movie was chock-full of names and faces that the average movie fan would recognize, there was no "movie star" in the mix. It was very much an ensemble cast where everybody pulled their weight to build the larger story together. This doesn't mean that the movie didn't produce at least one bonafide movie star, though. Let's start there.

Will Smith

In 1996, Will Smith was wrapping up his successful transition from rap musician to TV star as the lead on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was coming off his first solid movie as the co-lead of Michael Bay's Bad Boys, but nobody was sure that he'd be able to play the hero of Independence Day. As fighter pilot Captain Steven Hiller, Smith lead the defense against the alien invasion. Smith would go on to be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood with hits like the Men in Black series and Oscar-worthy efforts like Ali. While he's not quite the world dominating star he once was, he's still in very high demand. He'll next be seen playing Deadshot in this summer's Suicide Squad.

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