…but don’t worry, they didn’t actually cast Will Smith’s son. No, Jaden is not picking up fighting aliens where his dad and Jeff Goldblum left off in 1996. But back as far as 2013 we’ve heard that Roland Emmerich’s long gestating sequel focuses on the stepson of Smith’s Captain Steven Hiller. You remember him, he’s that adorable little kid who hangs out with Vivica A. Fox. Well now he’s all grown up and being played by Jessie Usher. The production has also added two more players, one returning star in the person of Jeff Goldblum, and a newcomer, Liam Hemsworth.
This news comes form The Hollywood Reporter. If you’re not familiar with Usher, he’s done a lot of one-offs on procedural TV shows, but he is best known as the lead on Starz’ Survivor’s Remorse. To be honest, I’d never heard of that series until just now, but it’s apparently produced by Lebron James and follows a basketball star named Cam Calloway (Usher), who moves to Atlanta after going pro.
Usher’s most notable big screen appearance was in the inspirational football drama When the Game Stands Tall. So obviously Independence Day 2 is a big score for him. The original made $800 million dollars and helped make Smith as one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, though he will not return for the sequel—we’ve long heard rumors that there were two scripts, one for if he did come back, another for if he didn’t.
We’ve also heard that Goldblum could be back to reprise his role a neurotic scientist David Levinson, and now it’s pretty solid that is going to happen. Hemsworth’s name floated around a while back, linked to an unspecified lead role, and that’s exactly what THR says, that The Hunger Games star been case in a lead role, though there are no more details available at this time. Maybe he’s the secret bastard child of Harry Connick Jr.’s Captain Jimmy Wilder.
Emmerich is directing and producing with Dean Devlin and Harald Kloser, and Independence Day 2 is already scheduled for release on June 24, 2016, almost exactly 20 years after the first film blew up the box office. What we’ve heard of the story, which was a while ago, so it could have changed since then—the script has gone through multiple rewrites—involves a new generation of alien fighters who have to battle reinforcements for the original invaders.