Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming sequel to the 2007 post-apocalyptic blockbuster.
Is there an ‘I Am Legend 2’ coming out?
It was reported by Deadline in early March of last year that a sequel to “I Am Legend” was greenlit by Warner Brothers. There is no timetable for when the film will be released as of now.
What is the controversial ending to ‘I Am Legend’?
Anyone familiar with the book knows why the ending was controversial. In the theatrical cut, Smith’s character, Dr. Robert Neville, develops a cure for a disease after a worldwide epidemic wipes out nearly all of mankind. But once he does, the Darkseekers in the post-apocalyptic world have hunted him down to his lab with no hope for escape. To save mankind, Neville sacrifices himself by blowing himself up with the Darkseekers, while also leaving a sample of the cure to the two other humans still alive so they can revive humanity.
The reason why it was controversial was because the film completely changed the ending of the book that it was based on, which was designed to have the audience do a complete 180 on their perspectives of both the Darkseekers and Neville when it was over.
Why are there two endings to ‘I Am Legend’?
Upon showing the film with the alternate ending to test audiences, the reaction to the film’s twist at the end was so overwhelmingly negative that they ultimately went with the ending in the theatrical cut instead.
For context, the alternate ending had the Darkseekers hunt Neville down because he kidnapped their leader’s girlfriend, among the many others he captured and later killed, to develop the cure. In their eyes, his deadly experiments have killed so many of them, the dominant species, that they understandably see him as a monster. They only went after him due to the damage he caused. Once he releases her, they come to an understanding and go their separate ways, thus showing that they’re not really the savages they were initially thought to be — and Neville was not the hero he initially thought he was.
Test audiences didn’t like the revelation that Neville was actually the villain, while the Darkseekers were a humane civilization. So filmmakers went with the ending that portrayed as a hero and the Darkseekers as barbarians.
When the film got its DVD release in 2008, they provided a feature in which viewers could watch the alternate ending.
Is ‘I Am Legend 2’ a prequel or sequel?
Akiva Goldsman, the screenwriter for both “I Am Legend” and its upcoming sequel, confirmed in an interview with Deadline that the upcoming film will continue the story many years after the first film’s alternate ending.
“This will start a few decades later than the first,” Goldsman 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.”
Is Will Smith in ‘I Am Legend 2’?
Deadline confirmed that Smith will be returning as Neville alongside Michael B. Jordan. Even though they’ve confirmed that the sequel will be a continuation from its predecessor’s alternate ending, there may need to be plenty of explaining as to how Smith’s character is still alive to anyone who has seen the original theatrical cut and not the alternate ending.