Independence Day aliens invaded the Earth on the 4th of July. Within the world of the film, the aliens arrived on July 2 and attacked on July 3. The 4th of July was the day we fought back.
Aliens will be back this week in Independence Day: Resurgence, But what do we know about these aliens? The original Independence Day didn’t go out of its way to give the invaders a backstory or even a name. Presumably, that choice was made to keep the focus on the film’s ensemble cast. But there are clues in the first ID4 and the ancillary material for the sequel which can help fill in the gaps of our knowledge about our unfriendly visitors from another world.
It’s telling that alien invaders don’t appear to have names for themselves as individuals or as a species. Former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) said it best in ID4: “They’re like locusts.” When Whitmore attempted to bargain for peace, he got a first-hand view of their plan to take Earth’s natural resources and exterminate humanity, just as they had done on countless inhabited planets before.
As far as we know, insects like locusts don’t have any need for names or individual personality. But if the aliens share a hive mind like insects, does that mean that they have a queen as well?
As demonstrated by the captive alien in Area 51, the aliens have the ability to communicate with each other via telepathy. That ability extends to their human victims as well, as Doctor Okun (Brent Spiner) was used like a human puppet by the captive before the alien extended its telepathic assault to President Whitmore as well. But the fact that the alien felt the need to speak through Okun suggests that it doesn’t have the capacity to vocalize a language the way that humans do.
The ancillary ID4 media suggests that the aliens’ technology was grown, not built. Somehow, they managed to create an armada (or two) that is capable of wiping out whole planets. But here’s an interesting tidbit: the aliens don’t appear to have mastered simple radio transmissions. Remember, the only reason that David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) knew that the aliens were up to no good came when he realized that they were using the Earth’s satellite network as relay for a simultaneous strike on the largest cities.
You’d think an advanced alien race wouldn’t need to rely on inferior human technology. But because they did, the human race had a fighting chance in the War of 1996.
The fact that an alien craft was waiting at Area 51 in ID4 is proof that the invaders came to Earth decades before their attack, possibly in a suicide or scouting mission. The so-called Roswell incident proved to be very fortunate for humanity, since it led to the ultimate victory over the invaders.
Additionally, the first ID4 film isn’t very clear whether Randy Quaid‘s Russell Casse was really abducted by aliens as he claimed. Speaking of which, the cast and crew of Resurgence offered their own take on that situation in our exclusive interviews.
The Independence Day aliens may look intimidating, but if Will Smith’s Steven Hiller can punch out an alien in full armor, then maybe that’s why they rarely seen outside of their ships. Or perhaps that particular alien had a glass jaw. Despite the obvious physical differences between the aliens and humans, there are some similarities. Both species appear to have some things in common, including the ability to walk on two legs. The aliens also have only two fingers on each hand, and two toes on each foot.
The aliens’ tentacles may be connected with their telepathy. If you recall, the alien who attacked Doctor Okun wrapped its tentacle around his neck until it assumed control of his thoughts. The aliens also appear to have the ability to breath oxygen and generally function on Earth.
According to the War of 1996 website, the ultimate defeat of the Independence Day aliens was not instantaneous. A group of alien fighters held out for over a decade in the Congo. That may be why there are live prisoner aliens at the start of the line. Those prisoners may have even alerted the other alien fleet to seek vengeance against humanity.
Independence Day: Resurgence’s release on Friday, June 24.