Dr. Brackish Okun was the director of research at Area 51.
The son of Saylene Okun, Brackish graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in astrophysics. In 1972, following his graduation, Okun was immediately recruited by the military, and due to the top-secret nature of his work, was isolated at Area 51 for his entire life. However, Okun was devoted in learning about the alien technology from the captured spacecraft recovered from the Roswell incident. Okun also strikes up a relationship with his colleague and later life partner Dr. Milton Isaacs.
Within two years, Okun became the director of Area 51, succeeding Dr. Immanuel Wells. In 1994, he developed the LXR-73, a prototype laser weapon, which, however, caused a meltdown in a section of the facility.
War of 1996
During the War of 1996, Okun was surprised and excited that the spacecraft reactivated due to the arrival of the aliens. He later greeted the arrival of President Thomas Whitmore and his entourage, and became their guide through Area 51, explaining to them what he and his staff knew so far about the aliens. Whitmore then assigned David Levinson to help Okun and his research team.
When an alien was captured and brought to Area 51, Okun volunteered to lead the autopsy on the prisoner. However, the alien regained consciousness and controlled Okun's mind before attacking the scientists attending the autopsy. The alien used Okun as its mouthpiece to communicate with his human handlers including Whitmore until it was killed by the President's security detail. Because of the alien's mind control, Okun was rendered into a catatonic state. Okun would remain in a coma for twenty years following the incident in the Marilyn Whitmore Hospital inside Area 51. His partner Milton devotedly kept him company for all these years, and brought flowers to his ward.
War of 2016
On July 1, 2016, Okun suddenly and inexplicably awoke from his coma. He later discovered that, having been telepathically linked to the aliens, he has now become part of the hive mind, and begins having visions of a second strike by the aliens. Much like how the Roswell spacecraft was reactivated upon the aliens' re-approach, the aliens' return has caused him to wake up from his coma with no apparent brain damage. He starts drawing out the visions he sees until his entire hospital room is covered in drawings. Thomas Whitmore, who also suffered a telepathic attack from the aliens, also has these visions due to the hive mind.
A spherical ship emerges from a wormhole near the ESD's Moon defense headquarters. Levinson was convinced that it belongs to a different extraterrestrial race that is benevolent and urges the world's governments not to attack, but they vote to shoot it down regardless. The container from the ship is analyzed and brought to Area 51. Okun uses some of his old experimental plasma technology to open the container and releases a giant white sphere of artificial intelligence, with which he is able to successfully communicate. The Sphere explains its mission: to evacuate survivors from worlds targeted by the aliens, dubbed the "harvesters," and build a resistance force, one already greatly feared by the aliens.
Upon learning this information, Okun and Levinson devised a plan to kill the Harvester Queen and ending the invasion by luring her into a trap by using the Sphere's frequency as a decoy. He and along with Dr. Isaacs stayed with guarding the Sphere. While the operation was underway, Okun continued his discussion with Sphere. The operation turned awry as the alien Queen survived the trap and directly attacked Area 51. Harvester soldiers broke into the Sphere's isolation chamber and killed Dr. Isaacs. Enraged by the loss of his lover, Okun fought alongside Dikembe Umbutu and Floyd Rosenberg in defending the Sphere until the Harvester Queen was successfully killed.
After the remaining alien forces retreated from Earth, Okun reveals to the ESD that the Sphere has asked humanity to lead its resistance, and offered them new technology in preparation for an assault on the Harvesters' home world.
Independence Day: Resurgence
- "Mr. President! Wow! This is... what a pleasure. As you can imagine, they... they don't let us out much."
- ―Okun meeting President Whitmore.
Independence Day: Silent Zone
- "It's all bull, man; it's all made up by people who haven't got anything better to do. Flying saucers, little men from distant galaxies - puleeez, it's physically impossible. Check it out: Einstein figured out the cosmic speed limit is 186,000 miles per second, the speed of light. Nothing can move faster than that. Now, light from the nearest star where there is even a remote chance of life takes something like a hundred years to get to earth, so, even if you assume that spacemen could travel at the speed of light, which they can't, you're still looking at a trip of hundreds or even tens of thousands of years to get from Planet X to Pasadena."
- ―Okun expressing his skepticism on alien visitations.
- "Is it just me, or is this whole situation starting to feel like an Edgar Allen Poe story? You aren't planning on locking us inside those doors, are you?"
- ―Okun on Area 51's security.
- "This is far beyond cool."
- ―Okun seeing the spaceship for the first time.
- "Are there more aliens out there, and are they going to come back?"
- ―Okun concerning on the "big picture".
Independence Day: Resurgence
- "We are gonna kick some serious alien ass."
- ―Okun's last lines.
- Independence Day/novel
- ID4: Independence Day
- Independence Day: Silent Zone
- Independence Day: Resurgence/novel
Behind the scenes
- Okun, portrayed by Brent Spiner, is based on Jeffrey A. Okun, digital effects supervisor on Roland Emmerich's and Dean Devlin's Stargate (1994).
- In The Art and Making of Independence Day: Resurgence, Brent Spiner described Okun: "I just like the fact that he was kind of completely out there. I mean, I had this sort of concept of him being like a Berkley grad back in the late '60s who took one too many tabs of acid. But he was actually a genius and so he's very effective at what he does... he's kind of a wild character and that's really fun to play."
- Brent Spiner was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor in Independence Day.
- Despite Okun's apparent death in Independence Day, Dean Devlin and Brent Spiner have since gone on record to say that his character is really in a coma when he appears to be dead after the film crew and audiences liked Okun so much. This was eventually confirmed in the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence.
- In Independence Day: Resurgence, Okun says to the gravely wounded Dr. Milton Isaacs "I'm gonna get you to sickbay" which is a nod to Brent Spiner's iconic role as Lt. Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.