'Independence Day: Resurgence' Finally Reveals the Amazingly Weird Brent Spiner

Dr. Brakish Okun lives! And he kept the hair!

20th Century Fox

They’re not screaming, they’re celebrating.”

It may not be as memorable as “the last 24 hours have been really exciting,” the tone-deaf exclamation by Area 51 scientist Dr. Brakish Okun (portrayed by Brent Spiner) in the 1996 Independence Day, but it’s at least one of the lines he gets in the sequel to the movie, Independence Day: Resurgence, which comes out this summer. It’s an ominous utterance from his character, who, along with the rest of humanity, probably had an uneasy feeling that the alien army it defeated in the mid-‘90s would one day return to earth for revenge. Fortunately, the humans have learned to use alien technology to advance their own race, so the fight should be closer to fair than the first go-round.

Wait, let’s stop there: didn’t Spiner’s gloriously weird scientist die in the first movie? Isn’t that scene with the alien controlling his neck with a slimy tentacle burned into everybody’s memory?

Nope: In a teaser uploaded tonight, we see his character — with his unruly long hair in-tact — alive and well, even though his fate was left ambiguous.


“People assume Dr. Okun died in the first movie. I don’t know why they make that assumption,” Spiner told Collider in a video posted in February. That’s that. Spiner also says, “My character does not evolve, in terms of his brain. He’s stuck in the ‘60s, and that’s a nice place to be.”

As you can see in his brief appearance in the teaser, he has some sort of woven scarf around his neck, maybe to cover a scar of sorts? While you can gather that Spiner’s Dr. Okun has an alternative sensibility, which is why he gives off a sci-fi J. Mascis vibe with his silver mane, this scarf can’t be 100 percent sartorial. There’s alien attack evidence under there:

He's gone from mad scientist in the original to truth-teller in this new trailer. 

Spiner’s just one of a number of characters who return for the film. Also back are Vivica A. Fox, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Judd Hirsch. Not included in the sequel will be Will Smith, though.

Independence Day: Resurgence comes out June 24. We are going for Spiner.

Watch the latest trailer here: