It’s been a big week for director Roland Emmerich’s long-gestating ‘Independence Day‘ sequel. First, it was announced that Jessie Usher would be joining the cast of the long-gestating sequel. Usher, who is best known for his starring role in ‘Survivor’s Remorse,’ has reportedly been cast in the role of Dylan Dubrow. Dylan, played in the 1996 original by Ross Bagley, is the stepson of the character played by Will Smith. This, it must be said, leaves Usher with some big shoes to fill. Not only will Smith be absent from this sequel, but it was his performance in ‘Independence Day’ that transformed Smith from the star of a successful TV show to one of the biggest box office draws of the decade. With that in mind, this role is also a tremendous career opportunity for him.

Not long after the announcement of Usher’s casting, Emmerich took to Twitter to confirm further casting news.  In an announcement that will surely put fans of the original at ease, the director confirmed that Jeff Goldblum will be reprising the role of David Levinson. The returning Goldblum will be joined by ‘Hunger Games’ star Liam Hemsworth. While there has yet to be an official announcement, rumor has it that Hemsworth (like Usher) will be playing the child of one of the original film’s characters. In this case, the son of President Whitmore, played by Bill Pullman (no word yet on whether or not Pullman himself will return).

Though originally conceived as two films shot back-to-back, ‘Independence Day 2’ has since been condensed into a standalone sequel, with a story by Emmerich and Dean Devlin, who co-wrote the original. The story in question is rumored to see a new invasion as alien reinforcements arrive twenty years after the events of ‘Independence Day.’

‘Independence Day 2’ is expected to begin filming in the spring and is due for release on June 24, 2016, just over a week prior to the original film’s twentieth anniversary.

Source: THR, /Film