I Am Legend 2 Will Pick Up from the Ending Fans Preferred

A long-awaited sequel is righting the 2007 blockbuster’s wrong.

Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

The legend of I Am Legend will continue, despite how the post-apocalyptic movie ended.

In an interview with Deadline, producer Akiva Goldsman provided an update on the sequel to 2007’s I Am Legend. The project, which does not yet have a director, will star Will Smith, reprising his role as Dr. Neville from the first film. Dr. Neville is one of the few survivors of a plague that has turned humans into vampires. Michael B. Jordan will join the movie in a new, undisclosed role.

In what is a necessary twist, Goldsman confirms the sequel will be based on the alternate ending of I Am Legend, included on the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release in 2008, where Dr. Neville survives.

“This will start a few decades later than the first,” Goldsman told Deadline. He added that he’s “obsessed” with The Last of Us, HBO’s buzzy adaptation of the PlayStation video game, and how it depicts the post-apocalypse with “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?” Goldsman said. “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.”

Released in 2007, I Am Legend starred Will Smith as Dr. Neville, the lonely survivor of a plague that transformed humanity into vampires. He races to find a cure while trying to survive.

Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

Goldsman added that I Am Legend 2 (title TBA) will hew closer to Richard Matheson’s 1957 novel in how it picks up from the movie’s alternate ending, one that fans and critics generally believe is superior to the theatrical cut. “We trace back to the original Matheson book, and the alternate ending as opposed to the released ending in the original film,” Goldsman said.

“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.”

While the theatrical ending of I Am Legend ends in a dumb explosion, the alternate ending sticks to the themes of Matheson’s work. The ending shows Dr. Neville allowing the movie’s antagonist — a vampire pack leader he thought was just a mindless killer — to reunite with his mate, who Neville captured for medical experiments. This ending evokes the book’s themes of isolation and perspective, in that Dr. Neville realizes he is the monster to the vampires, because he’s been killing and experimenting on their kind.

The ending still differs from the book in that Dr. Neville survives to deliver a cure to one of the last human outposts, suggesting humanity gets a fresh start. With I Am Legend 2 adding Michael B. Jordan to the mix, it’s plausible humanity’s fresh start isn’t so easily earned, and that there’s still work to be done before man can reclaim the earth.

I Am Legend 2 does not yet have a release date.

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