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  • Actor-Inspired Element: Robert Loggia got to decide which branch of the military his character was in, since it was never established in the script. Loggia ultimately decided that General Grey should be in the Marine Corps.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Mary McDonnell accepted her role immediately after her agent pitched the film by simply saying "It's about fifteen mile-wide spaceships".
  • Backed by the Pentagon: The producers tried to use this trope, but the Pentagon refused to back a movie whose plot involved Area 51, (because it doesn't exist!). Tellingly, Emmerich noted in one interview (and in the DVD commentary) that the Pentagon bent over backwards to help him get the technical details right until they saw Area 51 mentioned, at which point they pretty much told him that he was on his own.
    • Hilarious in Hindsight thanks to the reveal that Area 51 does, in fact, exist.
      • The existence of Area 51, which is Groom Lake Airfield, Nellis Air Force Base, has never been secret. The fact that you can clearly see it from the perimeter fence kind of makes such a denial pointless. What they do or don't do there is another story.
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  • Banned in China: It was banned in Lebanon due to pressure from Hesbolla. Specifically, what angered them was the "forces of the world unite" montage, which showed Israeli and Iraqi air force personnel coexisting and agreeing to work together against the Invaders.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Will Smith's line "Welcome to Earth!" somehow has been memetically mutated into "Welcome to Earf!", even though he doesn't have an accent anywhere close to that thick.
  • Billing Displacement: Though Mary McDonnell is higher billed than the fellow female stars, Margaret Colin and Vivica A. Fox, her screen time is much less than both of them.
  • Blooper:
    • As mentioned on the main page, despite starting on what should be a sweltering July morning, Connie's USA Today has a weather map that would be more appropriate for mid-winter in the United States.
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    • The Black Knights' CO is wearing the insignia of a lieutenant colonel when he's giving the mission briefing, but later when the aliens attack El Toro, he is wearing a captain's insignia.
    • After dropping its nuclear missile, the B-2 bomber banks left to get away from the DC City Destroyer. However, the display at Area 51 shows the plane having banked to the right.
    • When David is drunkenly making a mess in the spaceship hangar, one of the bins he knocks over is labeled "Art Dept."
    • Whitmore's fighter is equipped with four missiles, but he fires five: two to test the shield, one with the big volley, one to take down an attacker, and one to try to destroy the main weapon.
    • Similarily, when Jimmy tries to take down Steve's pursuer, he is shown having three missiles left when he has already fired two.
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  • California Doubling: Actually Utah Doubling; most of the movie after the first act was filmed on the Bonneville Salt Flats, near Wendover, UT.
  • Deleted Role: Diana Bellamy, Judith Hoag, and Jessica Tuck were all cast in large roles that were ultimately deemed extraneous and not included in the final script.
  • Development Hell: Two sequels to the film have been planned for several years, and only recently got a release date of July 3rd, 2016.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • A deleted scene (included in the extended version) early in the movie had David explaining exactly how our satellites were being hijacked by the aliens. At the end of the scene, Harvey Fierstein's character planted an (ad-libbed) kiss on David. Ironically, it was Roland Emmerich himself who decided to cut the scene, lest he incur the wrath of the MPAA. And the kiss in question was at best a platonic kiss, so it wasn't even that close to potentially upsetting the MPAA, especially seeing how another thing that Fierstein was in got away with a similar male-male kiss without it being censored.
    • There was a scene in the film that would have explained how Levinson's Macbook was compatible with an alien operation system, by showing that Levinson analyzed the computers on board the crashed alien fighter to build the virus. For some reason, the scene was removed from the theatrical cut. It was cut because Emmerich didn't think people would make that big a deal of it.
    • Yet another deleted scene (according to an interview with Judd Hirsch) would have explained that Julius Levinson was a Rabbi who lost his faith after his wife died. This is why David is so shocked by his revelation that he hadn't "spoken to God" since then. It's also why he takes it upon himself to lead the prayer circle in the Final Battle.
    • When Whitmore calls Marilyn to tell her to get out of LA, you can see Grey and Nimzicki entering the doorway as though they're about to tell the President something. The script featured a short scene in which they both recommend a nuclear first strike, which Whitmore declines in order to not provoke the aliens, before Grey says that they're working on a means to visually communicate with the DC ship. This scene is featured in the novelization.
    • After finding Marilyn, a scene was filmed in which Jasmine fends off a group of survivalists.
    • Several scenes were included in the Extended Edition that delve deeper into the relationship between Russell and his children. When Miguel starts driving the RV, with the intent of ditching Russell, it's revealed that Miguel resents him for being an embarrassing stepfather, and that Troy's condition is actually more serious than car sickness shown in the scene following the city destroyers' first attack. As the convoy gets ready to move on following the disastrous counterattacks over the world, Russell is implied to be overprotective of Alicia. When they arrive at Area 51, Miguel realizes just how much Russell cares for his family when he sees him attacking a scientist who was ignoring his pleas to help Troy in favor of looking at the invader Hiller captured.
    • During the destruction scenes, there was a shot filmed where a bus flies through a billboard for Stargate, Emmerich and Devlin's previous film. Another shot featured a movie theater with the marquee "Coming Soon: Independence Day." Neither made it into the finished film.
  • Dueling Movies: Against Mars Attacks!.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Will Smith's rant about a god-awful smell was because of the set they were at. See: Throw It In!
  • Inspiration for the Work: Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin got the idea for the film while fielding a question about the existence of alien life during promotion for Stargate. A reporter asked Emmerich why he made a film with content like that if he did not believe in aliens. Emmerich stated he was still fascinated by the idea of an alien arrival, and further explained his response by asking the reporter to imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and discover fifteen mile-wide spaceships were hovering over the world's largest cities. Emmerich then turned to Devlin and said, "I think I have an idea for our next film."
  • Meaningful Release Date: It was originally scheduled for release on July 3; public anticipation did lead to some showings on the 2nd, however.
  • Method Acting: Bill Pullman used the memory of a decayed tooth which was pulled from his mouth in order to come up with a terrified expression when speaking with the alien invaders.
  • The Other Marty: Richard Riehle and Sam Anderson were set to portray David's boss Marty and the Secretary of Defense, respectively, but both roles were re-cast. As compensation, Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich promised them all roles in The Visitor.
  • Recycled Set: The attack on El Toro scene took place on the "Russian Airfield in Afghanistan" used in The Living Daylights. Ironically, unlike said film, the USMC did use the OV-10 Bronco displayed on the ramp.
  • The Red Stapler: In the film, Jasmine wears dolphin earrings and Steve got her a dolphin engagement ring. There was an increased demand for dolphin-themed jewelry after the film was released.
  • Referenced by...:
    • Both Metal Slug 2/X and Sigma Star Saga have alien spaceships taken down by kamikaze attacks to their ventral Wave Motion Guns (final and first bosses, respectively).
    • The Scrin Mothership in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars is a flying saucer armed with a matter-conversion cannon that can wipe out whole cities in one shot.
    • Star Fox 64's Katina stage features the Saucerer, a familiar looking flying saucer that fires a giant Wave-Motion Gun if you don't beat it fast enough. You fight it in a giant aerial battle with many allied and enemy ships. The official American strategy guide even lampshades this, saying that the Saucerer's plans might have been stolen from another alien race.
  • Similarly Named Works: There is another film called Independence Day, about a woman who wants to be a photographer, and whose sister has an explosive revenge for Domestic Abuse.
  • Star-Making Role: Up to Eleven for Will Smith. His work as The Fresh Prince put him on the map as a musician. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Bad Boys made him a household name as an actor. Independence Day made him one of the biggest movie stars of all time.
  • Throw It In!
    • Production designer Patrick Tatopoulos came up with two completely different designs for the aliens. Roland Emmerich loved both sketches and asked to use them both, leading to the distinct "small alien in an exoskeleton" look.
    • It was Robert Loggia's idea for General Grey to be a Marine, as his branch was not established in the script.
    • As usual, most of Jeff Goldblum's dialogue was improv.
    • And Harvey Fierstein's "Oh, my God. I gotta call my brother, my housekeeper, my lawyer. Nah, forget my lawyer..." was ad-libbed, although it was original "nah, fuck my lawyer," and then dubbed over (rather obviously).
    • Similarly, Fierstein's character's planted kiss on Goldblum's character was ad-libbed by Fierstein. Of course, it ended up cut in the theatrical cut, but restored in the Special Edition.
    • The Rousing Speech Whitmore gives to the pilots before the climax was not intended as the final version of the speech. Emmerich and Devlin got caught up in filming they forgot to keep working on it up until Pullman was doing rehearsals on set. But Pullman was just so bombastic that the extras and crew were applauding, and they left the speech alone. The line "Today we celebrate our Independence Day!" was ad-libbed.
    • Will Smith's "AND WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SMELL?!" line while ranting about having to drag an unconscious alien through the desert in his parachute when he could have had a day off for the Fourth of July was not in the original script: the desert setting that they were filming in was actually the salt flats near Great Salt Lake in Utah. Great Salt Lake is home to brine shrimp. When they die, the bodies sink to the bottom of the lake (which isn't very deep) and decompose. When the wind kicks up just right, the bottom mud is disturbed and the smell of millions of decaying brine shrimp can be very, very bad. Apparently, nobody warned Will. (Roland Emmerich also said that he would have loved to let Smith improvise as much as he could, given how hilarious the scene turned out).
    • Will Smith also ad-libbed his reply of "Just tell them I hit you." to the burly soldier.
    • Dean Devlin and second unit came up with Russell Casse's heroic last words "Hello, boys! I'm back!" After the ending was changed, they kept the line.
  • Translation Correction: In the film, a British pilot mentions there may be reinforcements hiding in the "Golan Strait." The Golan Heights is actually a hilly region between Israel and Syria. The German dub corrects the location.
  • Trope Namer: For You Don't Want to Die a Virgin, Do You?. Later renamed to Must Not Die a Virgin.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original ending involved Casse being disallowed to fly alongside the others, and so he straps an explosive to his biplane and performs the Heroic Sacrifice by flying it into the superlaser as per the ending that found its way into the film. It was determined to be a little bit too comical seeing a biplane match the speed of the fighter jets, and the reshot version allows us to see Russ make his decision for a Heroic Sacrifice as opposed to a suicide mission from the outsetnote .
    • Homaged/Parodied in one of the later Metal Slug games as a cutscene once the Big Bad ship starts to fire its big beam. An antique plane flies into the beam and...
    • President Whitmore was originally intended to be a Richard Nixon-like figure. The role was originally written for Kevin Spacey, Dean Devlin's friend from high school. An executive at Fox refused to cast Spacey, insisting he didn't have the potential to be a big star. The part was re-written and Bill Pullman was then cast in the role.
    • Matthew Perry was originally offered the role of Captain Jimmy "Raven" Wilder but pulled out at the last minute. His father John Bennett Perry plays a Secret Service Agent in the movie.
    • Will Smith's then-girlfriend, Jada Pinkett, was reportedly offered the role of Jasmine, but had already accepted a role in the 1996 remake of The Nutty Professor (1996).
    • Roland Emmerich wanted Martin Landau for the role of Julius Levinson, but he was busy with The Adventures of Pinocchio.
    • Eddie Murphy was the first choice for the part of Steven Hiller. Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, and Jean-Claude Van Damme were considered for the part.
    • Matthew Broderick was considered for David Levinson, but was unavailable.
    • The song playing at the SETI station was originally "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears for Fears. At least one TV spot still used this.
  • The Wiki Rule: Independence Day Wiki
  • Working Title: The film's title was almost Doomsday. Part of the reason they kept in "Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!" was to ensure that Fox would approve the title.
  • Write Who You Know:
    • Dr. Okun was based on Jeffrey A. Okun, digital effects supervisor on Stargate. It is an almost perfect representation of Okun, right down to the hair and mannerisms.
    • According to DVD Commentary, Julius Levinson was based off of one of Dean Devlin’s uncles.


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