'Independence Day' : See Photos of the Cast Then and Now

See where the stars of the hit disaster film are, 26 years after the film's July 3, 1996 premiere

01 of 09

Will Smith

Independence Day -- Will Smith
20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection; Paras Griffin/Getty

The rapper and actor was already famous for his sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran from 1990-1996. Independence Day skyrocketed Smith, who played leading man Captain Steven Hiller, to international stardom — despite initial pushback from the studio that he was "unproven," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Smith, a father of three, has continued to have a blockbuster career as both an actor and producer, with some of the Oscar winner's most notable roles including the Men in Black and Bad Boys franchises, along with Hitch, The Pursuit of Happyness (staring his real-life son, Jaden) and Aladdin.

He won the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard in 2022, though the big moment came minutes after he walked onto the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock following a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The actor later apologized (though not to Rock) and was banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years.

02 of 09

Vivica A. Fox

Independence Day -- Vivica A. Fox
20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection; Jamie McCarthy/Getty

After reuniting with Smith (she'd previously guest-starred on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) to play his character's girlfriend Jasmine Dubrow, Fox's career continued at a breakneck pace, with the Set It Off star pumping out up to 10 movies and TV show appearances a year.

Previously known for her time on The Young and the Restless, some of her most notable roles since have been in Kill Bill and Curb Your Enthusiasm. She later reprised her role as Dubrow for the 2016 sequel.

03 of 09

Jeff Goldblum

Independence Day -- Jeff Goldblum
Moviestore/Shutterstock; Frazer Harrison/Getty

Goldblum was already a familiar face when he appeared as tech wiz David Levinson in Independence Day (and later in the sequel). He'd made his acting debut in 1974 and landed starring roles throughout the '80s in movies such as The Fly and Jurassic Park, the latter of which he has appeared in throughout its many sequels.

Goldblum has been a mainstay in Hollywood for decades, with stints on Law & Order, roles in indie hits like The Grand Budapest Hotel and Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok. He most recently appeared in Jurassic World: Dominion alongside former costar Laura Dern.

04 of 09

Margaret Colin

Independence Day -- Margaret Colin
Alamy; Taylor Hill/Getty

Colin's Constance Spano ran the show as White House Communications Director (and the ex-wife of David Levinson). A decade later, she'd be the girl-boss-in-charge once again as wealthy, absent mother Eleanor Waldorf in Gossip Girl. Colin has had roles in a few films and a number of TV series before and after her role in Independence Day, recently including Chicago Med and Veep.

05 of 09

Judd Hirsch

Independence Day -- Judd Hirsch
Alamy; GP Images/Getty

Hirsch portrayed Levinson's dad, rabbi Julius Levinson, in the hit 1996 disaster movie. The Oscar-nominated star was already famous from his turn as Alex Reiger in the late '70s series Taxi. Hirsch, who recently starred in Uncut Gems, has been acting since 1971, with an impressive 94 acting credits to his name, according to IMDB.

06 of 09

Bill Pullman

Independence Day -- Bill Pullman
20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock; Randy Shropshire/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

As President Whitmore, Pullman gave an impassioned speech to his country before launching "the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind" (a speech so iconic, he parodied it for Budweiser in an ad to encourage people to get their COVID-19 vaccines).

He later reprised his role as the President of the United States in the 2016 sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. In the two decades between, Pullman landed roles in a slew of films and a handful of TV series, most recently as Harry Ambrose on The Sinner.

07 of 09

Mary McDonnell

Independence Day -- Mary McDonnell
Claudette Barius/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock; Rachel Luna/FilmMagic

McDonnell, who was previously known for her role as Dr. Eve Sheridan on E/R in the mid-'80s, portrayed First Lady Marilyn Whitmore in the 1996 film.

Climbing up the political ladder, she later became famous for her turn as President Laura Roslin in the 2004 series Battlestar Galactica. With roles in films like Donnie Darko and series such as The Closer and Major Crimes, McDonall has racked up 50-plus acting credits throughout her decades-long career.

08 of 09

Randy Quaid

Independence Day -- Randy Quaid

Quaid, who is the older brother of actor Dennis Quaid, had a wide-ranging career up through the early 2000s, with roles in major films including The Last Picture Show and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, as well as a few appearances on Saturday Night Live.

After his turn as pilot Russell Casse in Independence Day, he went on to land a handful of other roles, most notably in 2005's Brokeback Mountain. He's since had a number of run-ins with the law, and had stepped out of the spotlight until a 2018 appearance in All You Can Eat.

09 of 09

Mae Whitman

Independence Day

The actress was 7 when she was cast in the blockbuster film in the role of Patricia Whitman, the daughter of the president. "A lot of what I have memory-wise is running around in between takes, looking at the fake aliens and hiding in the spaceship," she recalled on EW's "Couch Surfing" recently.

She's continued to have huge acting success with roles on Arrested Development, Parenthood and Good Girls, but her role as Patricia was recast with Maika Monroe in the 2016 sequel — news which was not well-received at the time.

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