Houston was the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States.
During the second day of the War of 1996, a City Destroyer was on its way to Houston. In the chaotic evacuation, almost two thousand people were killed and when the Destroyer arrives, just ten percent of the population were in the city. President Thomas Whitmore, after barely surviving an encounter with a captured alien pilot and learning the aliens' hostile intentions for Earth, reluctantly authorized a nuclear strike against the City Destroyers. A B-2 Spirit squadron from Whiteman Air Force Base in Kansas City was the closest to Houston, in which Whitmore decided to attack this Destroyer first.
Prior to the launch, Whitmore had informed America's allies of his decision, in order to prevent other nuclear states from firing their missiles in the rapidly losing battle, until the results of the attack were clear. After the missile detonated, a reconnaissance vehicle crew confirmed that Houston had been destroyed, but the City Destroyer remained intact, with no damage at all. As a result, Whitmore called off further nuclear strikes.
Behind the scenes
- To achieve the look of Houston as seen from the air at night, the film crew simply poked holes in a sheet of black construction paper, placed the paper in front of a bright light in a smoke-filled room, and photographed it using special lighting to accomplish the effect.
- The initials of several ID4 model shop crew members can be seen as graffiti on a wall behind the surveillance tank model parked on the miniature Houston freeway set.
- Following the Houston destruction sequence, the silhouette of a crooked street light is a visual nod to the Martian ships of the 1953 film War of the Worlds.