A reboot film of Independence Day, Director By: Gareth Edwards. Plot On July 2, 1996, an enormous mothership UFO that has one fourth the mass of the Moon, enters orbit around Earth, deploying assault fortress saucers, each with a fifteen-mile radius, that take positions over 36 of Earth's major cities. David Levinson, an MIT-trained satellite technician, decodes a signal embedded within global satellite transmissions, realizing it is the aliens' countdown timer for a coordinated attack. With help from his ex-wife, White House Communications Director Constance Spano, David, and his father Julius gain access to the Oval Office and warn President Thomas J. Whitmore of the attack. Whitmore immediately orders large-scale evacuations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., but it is too late; the timer reaches zero, and the saucers fire destructive beams into the ground, causing massive walls of fire that kill millions. Whitmore, the Levinsons, and a few others narrowly escape aboard Air Force One as Washington is destroyed, along with the other locations over which the saucers are positioned.
On July 3, international leaders begin ordering individual counterattacks. Their air forces attack the saucers positioned above the ruins of the cities, but the saucers are protected by force fields. Each saucer launches a swarm of attack fighters with their own shield as well, which decimate the human fighter squadrons and military bases. Captain Steven Hiller, an F/A-18 jet pilot with the USMC squadron VMFA-314 based out of El Toro, survives by luring his attacker to the enclosed spaces of the Grand Canyon and sacrificing his plane, forcing the alien to crash-land. He subdues the downed alien and flags down a convoy of refugees, hitching a ride with former combat pilot Russell Casse. They transport the unconscious alien to Area 51, where Whitmore's group has landed. Through Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki, they have learned that a faction of the government has been involved in a UFO conspiracy since 1947 when one of the invaders' attack fighters crashed in Roswell. Area 51 houses the now-refurbished alien fighter, and three alien corpses recovered from the crash. As eccentric scientist Dr. Brackish Okun examines the alien captured by Steven, it regains consciousness and attacks, telepathically invading Okun's mind and killing all the other doctors. It uses Okun's vocal cords to communicate with President Whitmore, before launching a psychic attack against him. After Secret Service agents and military personnel kill the alien, Whitmore reveals what he saw in the aliens' plans. He says that the invaders are like locusts; their whole civilization travels from one planet to the next, stripping them of all their natural resources. The President reluctantly authorizes a nuclear attack; a B-2 Spirit fires a nuclear warhead tipped cruise missile at a saucer positioned above Houston, but the saucer remains intact. Meanwhile, Steven's fiancée Jasmine and her son survive the destruction of Los Angeles, and use an abandoned service truck to rescue other survivors, in the process finding the injured First Lady, Marilyn, whose helicopter crashed during the initial attack. Though the group is rescued by Steven and taken to Area 51, Marilyn dies of the severity of her wounds shortly after being reunited with her family.
On July 4, David demonstrates that the key to defeating the aliens is to deactivate their shields, and devises a plan to do this by uploading a virus into the mothership using the refurbished alien fighter, which Steven volunteers to pilot. The U.S. military contacts surviving airborne squadrons around the world through Morse code to organize a united counter-offense against the aliens. With military pilots in short supply, Whitmore enlists the help of volunteers with flight experience, including Russell, to fly the remaining F/A-18s at Area 51; and leads an attack on a saucer bearing down on the base. Flying into space and entering the alien invaders' mother ship, Steven and David upload the virus and successfully deploy a nuclear weapon on board the mothership, nullifying the aliens' communications system and reinforcements, before the malware filtered into the alien ships above Earth. With the aliens' shields deactivated, the fighter jets are able to successfully fight back against the enemy craft, but their supply of missiles is exhausted before they can destroy the saucer. As it prepares to fire on the base, Russell has one last missile to spare, but when the firing control on the missile jams, he rams his jet into the directed-energy weapon port, causing the entire ship to implode, destroying it. Human military forces around the world are notified of the alien ships' critical point and successfully destroy the others. As humanity is rejoicing in victory, Steven and David return to Area 51 unharmed and reunite with their families. They then accompany Whitmore and his daughter in watching the wreckage from the mothership exploding, resembling a fireworks display as it enters Earth's atmosphere.
- Michael B. Jordan as Captain Steven Hiller, a MarineF/A-18 pilot. Devlin and Emmerich had always envisioned an African-American for the role.
- James Marsden as President Thomas J. Whitmore, a former fighter pilot and Gulf War veteran.
- Ryan Reynolds as David Levinson, an MIT-educated satellite engineer and technological expert.
- Jennifer Connelly as First Lady Marilyn Whitmore.
- Bradley Whitford as Julius Levinson, David Levinson's father. The character was based on one of Dean Devlin's uncles.
- J.K. Simmons as General William Grey, USMC, the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. Loggia modeled the character after World War II generals, particularly George S. Patton.
- Rob Corddry as Russell Casse, an eccentric, alcoholic former fighter pilot and Vietnam War veteran. He insists that he was abducted by the aliens ten years prior to the film's events shortly after completing his military service.
- Keri Russell as Constance Spano, Whitmore's White House Communications Director and David Levinson's former wife.
- Tessa Thompson as Jasmine Dubrow, Steven Hiller's girlfriend and mother of Dylan Dubrow.
- John Slattery as Albert Nimzicki, the Secretary of Defense and, as former CIA Director, is a member of a governmental faction who are aware of the aliens' existence due to the ship recovered at Roswell. Rebhorn described the character as being much like Oliver North. The character's eventual firing lampoons Joe Nimziki, MGM's head of advertising, who made life unpleasant for Devlin and Emmerich when studio executives forced recuts of Stargate.
- Danny McBride as Marty Gilbert.
- Lucas Black as Major Mitchell, USAF, Area 51's commanding officer and thus a member of a governmental faction who are aware of the aliens' existence, but during the war with them, he aligned with Thomas Whitmore and William Grey.
- Andy Serkis as Dr. Brackish Okun, the unkempt and highly excitable scientist in charge of research at Area 51. Dr. Okun appeared to have been killed by an alien but returned in the sequel, where it was revealed that the character had been in a coma for exactly two decades since the incident.The character's appearance and verbal style are based upon those of visual effects supervisor Jeffrey A. Okun, with whom Emmerich had worked on Stargate.
- Booboo Stewart as Miguel Casse.
- Mark Strong as Lt. Colonel Watson.
- Glen Powell as Marine Captain Jimmy Wilder.
- Violet McGraw as Patricia Whitmore, the daughter of President Thomas J. Whitmore and First Lady Marilyn Whitmore.