Characters: Independence Day

Character sheet for Independence Day.

"Today, we celebrate...our Independence Day!"

President Thomas Whitmore

Played by: Bill Pullman

President of the United States and former Gulf War hero. He is initially unpopular due to his perceived softness, but takes charge when the alien threat becomes clear.

"Now that's what I call a close encounter."

Captain Steven Hiller, USMC

Played by: Will Smith

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot with aspirations to become an astronaut. Is called to duty when the invaders first appear.

David Levinson

Played by: Jeff Goldblum

An MIT graduate-turned-cable company employee who stumbles upon an alien transmission signalling their imminent attack. Also happens to be the ex-husband of Constance Spano.

  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: He and Constance snark on a daily basis, but the reason he went to the white house to warn the president was so that she didn't die in the eventual invasion.
    • He still wears his wedding ring, Constance looks like she's about ready to cry when she finall notices.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Brilliant but Lazy: He had the talent and knowledge base to becomes a wealthier engineer, but he was perfectly happy where he was.
  • Character Development: He started out as a Brilliant but Lazy cable guy, who hated smoking and berated everyone for minor acts of pollution such as littering. After the invasion he starts smoking cigars, making messes and saving the world using a computer virus.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Spent eight years at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), which is the equivalent in status for math & science.
  • Jewish and Nerdy: His nerdiness ends up serving him well by allowing him to save the world.
  • Nice Jewish Boy
  • Rank Up: Official material released for the sequel indicates that twenty years later, David is in charge of all the Earth's defenses.
  • Smart People Play Chess
  • Working with the Ex

Constance Spano

Played by: Margaret Colin

  • Audience Surrogate
  • Brainy Brunette: You don't get as far as Presidential aide without being smart, but she's also the only one who realizes that all the people outside the Area 51 bunker would be screwed when the aliens arrive.
  • Family Versus Career: She went for a career with President Whitmore "wanting to make a difference".
  • Girl Friday: to the President.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: The reason David punched President Whitmore in the head (before he was President) was because he thought Constance was having an affair with him. She insists she wasn't, and it's implied she's telling the truth.
  • Punny Name: The White House Press Secretary with a name seemingly inspired by C-SPAN.
  • Working with the Ex

General William Grey, USMC

Played by: Robert Loggia

Julius Levinson

Played by: Judd Hirsch


Played by: Vivica A. Fox

  • Character Development: It has been confirmed that Jasmine has risen from being a stripper to a hospital administrator in the twenty years between films.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Well, technically an exotic dancer, but this is probably the closest trope that fits to her portrayal.
  • Mama Bear: When things start blowing up she goes from Stripper to Sprinter getting her son the hell out of there.
  • Single Mom Stripper: Unlike most examples of this trope, she dances by choice and enjoys the work and the money that comes with it

"The last 24 hours have been really exciting!"

Dr. Brackish Okun

Played by: Brent Spiner

An eccentric scientist who conducts research on the aliens at Area 51.

  • Admiring the Abomination: Shows a very enthusiastic interest in the aliens and their technology, even after the damage they caused.
  • Convenient Coma: Dean Devlin has implied that Okun was put into a coma instead of killed during his run-in with the alien, hence his surprise return in Resurgence.

Major Mitchell, USAF

Played by: Adam Baldwin

  • Majorly Awesome
  • Double Tap: Performs this on a wounded alien after he and several Secret Service agents gunned it down.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In spite of being in charge of a highly secret military base, he unlike most fictional characters in such a position is portrayed as a professional soldier whose response to an imminent alien attack is to allow all the unauthorized civilians to take shelter in the underground laboratories and personally take charge in the evacuation efforts.
  • Tranquil Fury: His reaction when he sees the captive alien telepathically attack the President.
    General Grey: "Is that glass bulletproof?"
    Major Mitchell: "No sir."

"Sir, if we don't strike soon there may not be much of an America left to defend."

Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki

Played by: James Rebhorn

  • The Cassandra: Nimzicki, probably because he has foreknowledge of what was in Area 51, is the only person on Whitmore's staff who advocates an attack on the aliens when they initially appear. His advice is characteristically stupid, but his impression of the immediate threat the invaders pose is the only thing he gets right.
  • The Neidermeyer
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Does nothing but provide bad advice to the President, and withholds crucial information (regarding the Roswell crash and Area 51) that could have been more useful had it been divulged earlier.
  • The Scrappy: Both to viewers, and in-universe, to the point where a furious and exasperated President Whitmore finally fires him.
  • Skewed Priorities / The Sociopath: It's outright stated in the book that he cares more about his political career and legacy than saving the human race from extermination.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: He's the only one that still acts like an asshole even after many times he's been proven wrong. And maybe even after the aliens were defeated.

"In the words of my generation, up youuuurs!"

Russell Casse

Played by: Randy Quaid

"Die. Diiiiie."

The Aliens

  • Aliens Are Bastards: Played entirely straight.
  • Alien Invasion: One of the most visually impressive ones ever put on film.
  • Big Bad: The alien commander.
  • Combat Tentacles: They have these in their bio-mechanical suits.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: They target major cities and important military facilities such as NORAD first, and employ force fields that can repel nuclear explosions.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: One of their long-lost attacker crafts brings down their shields and nukes them from within.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The president even describes them as such.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Somewhat.
  • Idiot Ball: You'd think that aliens would be immediately suspicious that one of their aforementioned long-lost craft (which we see from closeups has gone through visible man-made modifications) suddenly showed up at the mothership.
  • Lack of Empathy: They never show signs of compassion or even remorse towards the thousand (or more) victims they cause. When Whitmore tries to find a peaceful solution with one of'em the alien simply answers that there will be "no peace" and the only thing humans can do is "die."
  • Laser-Guided Karma
  • Oh Crap!: If their faces were capable of displaying emotion, this would likely be their reaction to seeing the timer on a nuclear missile count down to zero right before their eyes. Though that one alien who's right next to the bomb might also admire the humans' cleverness.
  • Organic Technology: It's stated in the novel that their ships are not forged, but grown.
  • Planet Looters: They are a race of galactic nomads that travel from planet to planet consuming its resources and wiping out any native inhabitants that stand in their way, and now have designs on Earth.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Can use human bodies to communicate audibly by wrapping the tentacles of their biomechanical suits around throats.
  • Quizzical Tilt: One of them does this when Steven and David decide to reveal themselves before they fire the nuke.
  • We Come in Peace Shoot to Kill: The first part averted. They don't want peace.