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Checkmate! 'Independence Day' sequel signs up Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth

The upcoming "Independence Day" sequel just keeps getting better and better!
/ Source: TODAY

The upcoming "Independence Day" sequel just keeps getting better and better! Sure, we know Will Smith isn't returning for the follow-up to the 1996 blockbuster, but director Roland Emmerich tweeted Tuesday that he has secured fan favorite Jeff Goldblum from the original and also signed on "Hunger Games" hunk Liam Hemsworth.

Goldblum's character of David Levinson, a satellite tech with an MIT degree and a passion for chess, provided crucial technical knowledge (as well as lots of dry witticisms) in the original, which pitted aliens with gigantic, looming spaceships against the punier, but ultimately wilier human race.

Levinson was the first human to realize what the aliens' endgame was once they'd moved all their spaceships into position over major world cities. As he noted in the movie, "It's like in chess: First, you strategically position your pieces and when the timing is right, you strike ... Checkmate."

In the planned sequel, the story is reportedly taking place in an alternate reality in which we've spent the years since the botched invasion using the alien tech for our own advancement.

The follow-up film has been discussed for years, with actors including Bill Pullman (who played the President of the United States) signing on as far back as two years ago. Jessie Usher ("Survivor's Remorse") has already been hired as the film's lead, playing the part of Smith's character's son.

Smith, however, was "too expensive," Emmerich revealed in 2013 while promoting his film "White House Down."

That may be true, but it seems hard to imagine he'd be out of reach. The original grossed over $817 million worldwide during its original release. In any case, there's still lots of time for things to change — "Independence Day 2" isn't slated to open in theaters until July 2016.

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