If Independence Day had been released in 2017 (we’re ignoring the whole existence of that Independence Day: Resurgence thing that happened in 2016–which was pre-Trump anyway and didn’t include Will Smith so why bother?), the fate of the U.S. after being attacked on a mass scale by extraterrestrials would more than likely not be taken so seriously by the film’s protagonists. After all, 1996 had much more promise, imbued humanity with far more hope and faith in life than the present moment. Hence, the tone of Independence Day in 2017 would inevitably be tinged with a darker pall, a less rosy outlook about the nature of civilization–particularly American civilization.
Accordingly, it’s unlikely that those remaining in the wake of the global decimation–Captain Steve Hiller (Will Smith), David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), President Whitmore (Bill Pullman), Jasmine Dubrow (Vivica A. Fox), et. al.–would bother with half as much conviction to attempt saving the U.S.–nay, the world!–by launching counterattacks against these rightly hostile aliens (how could they not be belligerent in their actions when dealing with a planet mongoloid enough to run as it does and [semi] elect officials that look and act more alien than the extraterrestrials themselves?).
What’s more, the aliens’ original motives for hopping from planet to planet in order to wipe out indigenous populations so as to extract natural resources for their own “people” hardly seems as plausible now, a time in which Trump has backed out of the Paris Agreement and Amazon owns Whole Foods. In short, there really isn’t too much left to pillage.
Elsewhere in the Independence Day of 2017, maybe Whitmore doesn’t feel as compelled to save the world so that his daughter can have a future–a future in which feminism is still balked at and a woman can’t even get steady dick anyway for all her ills pertaining to being relegated to second class citizen. A future in which the extent of feeling like one is making a positive change in the world simply means regurgitating “I stay woke” a lot. A future in which the height of fashion involves wearing a mermaid tail snuggie and/or a sweatshirt that reads “Rosé all day.” In essence, no future at all, just a waking nightmare of post-apocalyptic discontent in which everyone pretends they’re fine via Instagram.
Sadly, however, the one thing that most assuredly wouldn’t change with the Independence Day of 2017 is that a bloviating white male is always the first choice for casting a presidential role. In this case, continuing on with Bill Pullman–otherwise so out of place in rom-coms like While You Were Sleeping and Mr. Wrong. They’re certainly not going to give Will Smith that kind of power. So maybe, as we watch the fireworks go off this July 4th, would it be so out of line to imagine an alternate ending in which the aliens were cleverer than before? That they are, this time around, able to understand computers well enough to laugh at the type of child’s play virus David/Jeff Goldblum would upload to their mothership?
Ergo the explosion going off at the end not signifying Russell Casse (Randy Quaid) kamikaze-ing into the weapon port that destroys the ship, but rather, the aliens’ final triumph in sadistically and exploitively destroying America (which sees itself as all of Earth) on its so-called Independence Day. And plot twist!: the aliens turn out to be British.