By Chris Lee
Updated May 04, 2015 at 07:31 PM EDT
Credit: Mark Sagliocco/GC Images

Portraying the president of the United States in 1996’s Independence Day, Bill Pullman pilots a fighter jet straight into an interplanetary siege and delivers the rousing “We will not go quietly into the night!” speech that ultimately compels the allied human forces of earth to unite in kicking some alien butt.

But in Independence Day 2—set for a Jun. 24, 2016 release—the job of facing down an outer space armada hell-bent on our planetary annihilation falls to a woman: Sela Ward who has been cast as the film’s sitting POTUS, President Lanford.

The veteran character actress, late of CSI: NY, whose most recent big-screen turn was as a Diane Sawyer-like TV journalist in director David Fincher’s Gone Girl, is set to join a number of cast members from the original Independence Day including Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox and Jeff Goldblum. They will appear alongside franchise newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher (who plays the son of Will Smith’s fighter pilot ace character in ID4) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) whose replacement of actress Mae Whitman as Pullman’s First Daughter character caused a small tremor of controversy last week.

The action-thriller, written by James Woods and Nicholas Wright and directed by Roland Emmerich, is set to begin filming in New Mexico later this month.

Independence Day 2

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