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Why Will Smith movie I Am Legend had to change its ending

The Will Smith movie I Am Legend differs from its source material, and big changes were made to the ending in particular for one reason.

Will Smith in I Am Legend

The disaster movie I Am Legend could have been very different had the flick followed the book’s original ending. In fact, the 2000s movie toyed with a few different conclusions, with one in particular getting scrapped due to poor test screening reactions.

Will Smith led the vampire movie as Doctor Robert Neville, a man who believes himself to be the sole survivor of a mass virus outbreak which has decimated the planet. Between dodging the monstrous walking dead (also known as Hemocytes) and trying to find a cure, Neville ends up discovering other survivors.

The movie based on a book took its own path in many ways, using a modern setting for one, and also changing the ending of the story. Here’s how that all played out during development.

The original novel by Richard Matheson (a brilliant read, by the way) concludes with Neville being captured by the mutants inhabiting the Earth. When he confronts his nemeses, he realises that he is regarded as a monster to them after killing plenty of them during his years as a survivor.

Apparently, the monster movie originally went down that path (as per Collider), but when this version of the science fiction movie was screened for test audiences it received a terrible response from the viewers. Ultimately, the studio decided to go in a different direction.

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The theatrical version of the thriller movie instead saw Neville develop a cure for the virus, which he handed over to his ally Anna as she escaped the impending invasion of Hemocytes. Sadly, Neville was seemingly not so fortunate, but at least he may have saved the world!

This will all be opened up again as I Am Legend 2 appears to be on the horizon. The Michael B Jordan movie will be bringing back Will Smith, which may come as a surprise to many who figured he was dead. However, the new movie will apparently see the alternate ending put to good use finally.