I Am Legend remains one of Will Smith’s best action movies, and the world of the 2007 thriller movie is heading back to screens after the announcement that I Am Legend 2 is in the works.
Smith is due to return in the new movie and will be joined in the I Am Legend 2 cast by Michael B. Jordan, with original co-writer Akiva Goldsman returning to put the script together.
Naturally, the revelation of Smith’s involvement raised eyebrows, given what happens to his character at the end of the science fiction movie. We weren’t expecting to see him again, that’s for sure.
Now, though, we have an idea of how Smith’s return is due to come about – and the key lies in the movie’s alternate ending. As with many movies based on books, I Am Legend was changed significantly in the adaptation process.
The theatrically released version of the 2000s movie saw Smith’s character, Dr Robert Neville, sacrifice himself in a grenade explosion in order to kill the alpha male of the infected humans ravaging the post-apocalyptic earth and save the cure.
In the alternate ending, which is closer to the tone of the Richard Matheson novel on which the movie is based, Neville realises that the alpha male has simply been trying to recover his mate. The character then has to come to terms with the fact his work has made him a legendary villain in the eyes of the infected.
It’s a much less heroic ending for the vampire movie, in which Smith’s character effectively comes to terms with being the real movie villain in the story. But crucially for I Am Legend 2, it keeps Smith’s character alive and available to return.
Goldsman confirmed to Deadline that the alternate ending will be treated as canon. He said: “We trace back to the original Matheson book, and the alternate ending as opposed to the released ending in the original film. What Matheson was talking about was that man’s time on the planet as the dominant species had come to an end. That’s a really interesting thing we’re going to get to explore. There will be a little more fidelity to the original text.”
Goldsman also said the new movie will take place several decades later than the first and will be inspired by the recent success of The Last of Us, of which the writer is a huge fan.
He said: “I’m obsessed with The Last of Us, where we see the world just post-apocalypse but also after a 20-30-year lapse. You see how the earth reclaims the world, and there’s something beautiful in the question of, as man steps away from being the primary tenant, what happens? That will be especially visual in New York. I don’t know if they’ll climb up to the Empire State Building, but the possibilities are endless.”
We don’t know anything more about the I Am Legend 2 release date yet, but we’ve got you covered on the most exciting movies coming to screens in 2023, including the Barbie movie release date, the Oppenheimer release date, and the Fast and Furious 10 release date.