Steven Hiller (died April 27, 2007) was a U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot and Captain of the Black Knights squadron stationed at El Toro in Irvine, California. He was a war hero of the War of 1996 in which he participated in the destruction of the alien mothership. Following the war, he was promoted to Colonel and enlisted in the Earth Space Defense. He tragically died test piloting the ESD's first alien hybrid fighter.
Steven had aspirations of becoming an astronaut. But despite his excellent service record, he was rejected by NASA.
War of 1996
When the aliens arrived on Earth, Steven and his girlfriend Jasmine Dubrow slept unaware until waking up that morning to see a City Destroyer hovering over Los Angeles. Steven was called back from his leave despite Jasmine's protests. To calm her, he asked her to bring herself and her son Dylan to El Toro where he will reunite with them.
After the aliens began their attack, Steven lead the Black Knights in a counterattack on the City Destroyer near what remains of Los Angeles. The counterattack became a disaster as the Destroyer and its attackers are equipped with energy shields that made them invulnerable to conventional weapons. Steven's entire squadron is wiped out, forcing him and his wingman Jimmy Wilder to flee while being chased by attackers. Jimmy is killed during the pursuit. However, Steven managed to down one of his pursuers with his jet's parachute and crashing their aircraft. In the process, Steven subdued the attacker's pilot and was rescued by Russell Casse, who was traveling across the desert with a group of refugees. They took the alien to Area 51.
Steven then planned to return to El Toro, but when he asked General William Grey for permission to return, he learned that the base was destroyed, leading him to believe that his family was dead. Unknown to him they had survived and arrived at El Toro after the attack. Although despondent, Hiller took a helicopter to El Toro where he was relieved to see them alive. He brought them back to Area 51 along with a group of refugees, including First Lady Marilyn Whitmore.
Steven later volunteered to be the pilot of the repaired attacker, with David Levinson accompanying him to implement a computer virus and plant a nuclear missile on board the alien mothership, Hiller reasoning that he had seen the ships in action and was thus uniquely qualified to adapt to what it was capable of in flight. Prior to their mission, Steven officially married Jasmine. Steven and David successfully carried out their objective and barely manage to escape as the nuclear bomb completely engulfs and destroys the mothership. The two safely crash land in the desert near Area 51 and are greeted by their families and congratulated by President Whitmore.
Some years following after the invasion, Steven and his family temporarily lived in Washington, D.C. until moving to Nevada in which he joined the Earth Space Defense, serving as a test pilot and flight trainer. He was sent to China as a technical advisor and became acquainted with Jiang Lao and his niece Rain Lao, to whom he gave an autograph.
In 2007, he volunteered to test flight an experimental alien hybrid fighter while realizing the potential hazard of the aircraft in which he conscientiously refused to have inexperienced pilots be put in danger in the fighter. Hiller flew the fighter in the 2007 ESD Spring Expo; in which the aircraft malfunctioned, causing it to violently explode, killing Hiller.
Hiller's death was heavily publicized during which time the Lucas Jacobs administration came under fire for gross negligence for rushing the prototype hybrid fighter before it was ready. The incident also caused David Levinson to become Director of the ESD in order to prevent similar government negligence over the ESD.
Independence Day: Resurgence
- “Look, I really don't think they flew 90 billion light years to come down here and start a fight. Get all rowdy.
- Hiller to Jasmine.”
- “No, sir, just a little anxious to get up there and whoop E.T.'s ass, that's all!
- Hiller joking to Captain Watson.”
- “Oh you did NOT shoot that green sh*t at me!
- Hiller being fired on by alien attackers.”
- “Welcome to Earth!
- Hiller after punching out an alien pilot.”
- “''[puts a cigar in his mouth] Now that's what I call a close encounter.
- Hiller commenting on the alien that he punched out.”
- “You know, this was supposed to be my weekend off. But no~. You got me out here dragging your heavy ass through the burnin' desert with your dreadlocks sticking out the back of my parachute. You gotta come down here with a attitude, acting all big and bad. And what the hell is that smell?! [screams and kicks the alien] I could've been at a barbecue! But I ain't mad.
- Hiller to the unconscious alien.”
- “Do you really think you can do all that bullshit you just said?
- Hiller retorting to David.”
- “I have got to get me one of these!
- Hiller flies an alien attacker.”
- “Elvis has left the building!
- Hiller to David after narrowly escaping the alien mothership.”
- “Didn't I promise you fireworks?
- Hiller to Dylan as they watch the remains of the mothership burning up in the atmosphere.”
Behind the Scenes
- Will Smith's line, "And what the hell is that smell?" while ranting about having to drag an unconscious alien through the desert was unscripted. The desert setting was filmed on 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 Smith.
- During early production for Independence Day: Resurgence, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin had hoped for Will Smith to reprise as Steven Hiller. However, Smith declined the role after Emmerich stated that "he's too expensive." Due to his absence from Resurgence, Steven Hiller was written off in having been killed in an experimental aircraft accident, although a painting of him is displayed in the new White House.
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