July 4th is upon us, and that means that millions of sci-fi geeks nationwide will commence with their traditional viewing of “Independence Day.” Roland Emmerich’s 1996 blockbuster is on even more people’s radars this year because of the announcement of a sequel heading into theaters on June 24, 2016. However, the world outside of what we saw onscreen has been explored before through two novels and a comic book.
“Independence Day: Silent Zone” was released in 1998 and written by Stephen Molstad, who wrote the movie tie-in. The book begins after the alien invaders are downed and teams are sent out to find survivors. Only some personal belongings of Dr. Brackish Okun, head scientist of Area 51, are found.
Okun's story is amazing, yet completely believable. It begins in the 1970s when this CalTech genius arrives at Area 51 to work with the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA on the study of a downed spaceship retrieved from Roswell, New Mexico.
But there is much more to the job than Okun realized. Soon, he begins to suspect that a massive government cover-up has successfully buried all evidence of alien visitation throughout the years--a cover-up in which Okun is now an unwilling participant. His perseverance leads him to the truth behind the studies at Area 51, the government's fear of an alien invasion and a mysterious encounter in the Mexican desert at a place known as "La Manta de Silencia": The Silent Zone.
“Independence Day: War in the Desert” hit bookshelves in 1999 and was penned by Stephen Molstad as well. Touted as a midquel to the movie, the setting is the Fourth of July. Reeling from the enemy onslaught, a few surviving military pilots gather in the Saudi Arabian desert. Two of the best fliers, flight instructors Reg and Faisal, self-appointed leaders of the Saudi Forces, can barely contain their animosity when a message from the Americans forces them to unite.
A weak point has been found in the alien "City Destroyers." The air war against them was costly--but it worked!... Or did it? Too late, Reg and Faisal discover their "victory" was an illusion--part of a secret ambush that will open the planet to unimaginable horror, unless these overmatched warriors from several Middle Eastern nations can overcome long-standing hatreds and unite against the aliens in the fiercest hand-to-hand combat of the war.
Marvel released the official comic book adaptation of the movie in a limited two issue series. A prequel entitled “Independence Day #0” was published prior to those. It depicted the Roswell alien ship crash, the abduction of Russell Casse and the fight between David Levinson and Thomas Whitmore.
As you can see, there was always more to the story than what we saw in theaters and onscreen. Roland Emmerich always felt the world of “Independence Day” had further ground to explore. It looks like he’s ready to add to the mythos with the upcoming “Independence Day: Resurgence.”
“Independence Day: Resurgence” revolves around the nations of Earth collaborating on an immense defense program to protect the planet using recovered extraterrestrial technology. When the aliens attack with unprecedented force, only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can save the world. Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, and Sela Ward return in their respective roles and welcome newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jessie Usher, and Maika Monroe to the disaster.
If you’re interested in diving into the expanded universe of “Independence Day,” you can find any of the books for sale on Amazon. Links to buy them are posted below. Who doesn’t want to get the back story of Brent Spiner’s eccentric character, Dr. Brackish Okun, prior to his appearance and suspected revival from the dead?
“Independence Day: Silent Zone” is available now in paperback and hardcover editions.
“Independence Day: War in the Desert” is available now in a paperback edition.
“Independence Day #0” is available now in print.