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The first trailer for Independence 2 is here – and Will Smith’s character is dead

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“Hello, boys. I’m BAAAAAAACK!”

These, you may remember, were the last words of Randy Quaid’s hick pilot Russel Casse, hollered while going all kamikaze into the lugholes of an alien craft in 1996's Independence Day (doesn't that make you feel old?).

Sadly, one man who won't be back is Will Smith’s character Colonel Steven Hiller, who lived through the first film but not long enough to make Independence Day: Resurgence. And now we know why…

With the release of the first trailer, below, and corresponding microsite Warof1996.com, which lays out the timeline of the events since ID4, it claims Hiller was killed while test piloting the first hybrid ship made using alien technology. Which probably means 'we couldn’t afford Smith and he’s sick of making films about extra-terrestrials' but is surely one smart way to kill a character off:

"While test piloting the ESD's first alien hybrid fighter, an unknown malfunction causes the untimely death of Col. Hiller. Hiller's valour 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", who'll be following in the footsteps of his old man and flying a jet himself this time around.

Have no fear though - returning to the fold are Jeff Goldblum’s scientist, his dad (Judd Hirsch), Bill Pullman’s former President, now with extra facial fluff, and a new batch of heroes including Liam Hemsworth, who are sure to have a say when these intergalactic nasties come back for round two.

In case you’ve not yet seen the trailer - and do so immediately - it starts off like any other big budget sci-fi, with large convoys of shady blacked out government vehicles going to investigate strange goings on, but it doesn’t take long before the mid-air dogfights and CGI destruction rains down once more, finishing with Goldblum looking at one huge destroyer and musing "it's bigger than the last one". He's not wrong. 

Can mankind stave off destruction once again? Will the aliens have installed Norton Anti-Virus to hinder Jeff Goldblum’s computer virus? Will they have enough Cubans for the post-battle celebrations? 

Only time will tell.

Independence Day: Resurgence lands in cinemas 24 June, 2016

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