‘I Am Legend 2′ with Will Smith is Officially Moving Forward

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 18th, 2012 at 12:25 pm,

i am legend 2 will smith I Am Legend 2 with Will Smith is Officially Moving Forward

There have been rumblings about an impending second installment in the I Am Legend (would-be) franchise being made, ever since the original 2007 film grossed over half a billion dollars worldwide in theaters. Warner Bros. has finally struck a deal to do just that, with Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman – who co-wrote and produced the original Legend adaptation – now onboard to collaborate on the project (in some form).

Here’s where things get a bit tricky. The second I Am Legend flick is (as Deadline puts it) “not being called a prequel,” and is being fashioned so as to allow Will Smith to reprise his role as scientist Robert Neville (if the A-lister so chooses).

Quick history lesson: some three years ago, Smith reportedly conceived an idea for an I Am Legend prequel, the setup for which would have seen the Robert Neville character team up with pockets of survivors in the aftermath of an apocalyptic man-made virus – resulting in him “interacting, bonding, and ultimately failing to save them,” thus setting the stage for the events of I Am Legend.

However, that idea was scrapped in favor of a more direct sequel. The script for I Am Legend 2 was to be written by then-unknown D.B. Weiss (now, known as the co-creator of HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series) and would have somehow allowed for Smith to reprise his role as Mr. Neville, despite his (spoiler?) having been seemingly blown up by a grenade during the climax of the first film.

Jump to the present and Warner Bros. has instead recruited up-and-comer Arash Amel (The Expatriate) to pen the initial draft for the new I Am Legend movie. There’s no word yet on whether or not the project is still being fashioned as a sequel – though, it could be in a state of flux similar to the studio’s 300 spin-off, a film which was long assumed to be a prequel/midquel, but has recently been labeled a sequel instead.

i am legend sequel will smith I Am Legend 2 with Will Smith is Officially Moving Forward

Smith is expected to return for the second 'I Am Legend' installment

Assuming the second installment of I Am Legend is not simply a prequel-in-disguise, there are two ways for a Smith-starring sequel to make sense (sort of):

  1. Robert Neville is featured heavily in flashbacks, in a manner similar to how I Am Legend chronicles the chaotic quarantine of Manhattan (via its protagonist’s memories).
  2. Amel’s screenplay accepts I Am Legend‘s alternate ending (which partly restores the thematic value of Richard Matheson’s source material, while also allowing Robert Neville to live) as being “canon” – and ignores the much-decried climax to the film adaptation’s theatrical cut.

Obviously, the easier (and, frankly, more interesting) route would be to develop a prequel along the lines of what Smith originally had in mind, rather than attempting to awkwardly navigate around the conclusion to the theatrically-released version of I Am Legend. For the time being, though, it seems that the former may NOT be what Warner Bros. has in mind. Make of that what you will.


We will keep you posted on the status of the new I Am Legend installment (be it prequel or sequel) as the story develops.

Source: Deadline

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  1. I thought I Am Legend was great, but as a one-off. I’m not really all that interested in a follow-up.

    • I did not feel the original was that good, so I don’t think it is worthy of a sequel, and I am surprised they are doing one. Don’t know if anyone else noticed, but a major inconsistency in the first film was that, although those infected were supposed to be like animals, they were still wise enough to develop a fairly elaborate plan to capture Will Smith. Unless I am missing something, this was extremely poor writing…

    • I enjoyed the first one, but I’m always wary about sequels. Still, I’ll give it a chance. I don’t remember if the original book had any follow ups. Anyone know?

  2. They are not referring to it as a prequel.
    Right now, that is all we know .

  3. Didn’t like the original simply because to me it was another case of the director not being brave enough to get a proper performance out of Will Smith. As in, take him to one side and say, “That wasn’t very convincing. Let go. You ain’t the Fresh Prince anymore. The audience will handle you moving on.”. I do actually think there is a talented actor (not to be confused with performer) in Will somewhere, but star power being what it is he is fully the man in charge on sets. I s’pose Seven Pounds is a reasonable example of what the guy can do when someone does have the charlies to handle him the way a director should handle actor. But in the case of I Am Legend, the dog was more convincing and probably would’ve got an Oscar nomination in the category of ‘Best performance from a dog in a movie’ if it existed.

    • You really I think so? I thought he got the whole lonely and a tad crazy thing just right. The spacing out when he thought of his family, His breakdown with Sam, his freakout with Frank the mannequin, and the rant at the movie store where some excellent stuff.

      I felt like 7 lbs was a bit too forced drama for almost everyone involved sans Woody

    • Smith got it right. There was no Fresh Prince persona in that movie. Not at all.

    • What movie did you watch? I thought he gave one of his better performances, the scene where he has to kill his dog was heart wrenching.

      • My first post probably came across harsher than I was intending. The Fresh Prince thing wasnt meant to suggest that’s how he played this role (if it was I would’ve referenced I, Robot as the classic example of Will doing this), but more to emphasis that for whatever reason he seems to be almost afraid to fully commit himself to a performance for an entire movie. A case of, “Will the audience accept me moving on from the Fresh Prince?”. Because of this a lot of scenes where he was alone seemed off, a one take deal instead of a 5/6 take deal and came across more as a filmed rehearsal than an actual final scene. Like I said, I think this guy has more talent than we’ve actually seen. He just needs to let go, trust his instincts and his talent and work with directors who will challenge him and not bow to his star power/studio demands :)

        I agree about the scene with the dog by the way. He pulled that off very well. As a dog owner, if something happened to my Lab I’d be inconsolable.

        • As far as I, Robot is concerned, I fully agree, his performance wasn’t serious enough in my opinion. But I don’t agree with you when you say he doesn’t fully commit to a performance, other than ‘Wild, Wild, West’ and ‘I, Robot ‘ and maybe ‘Men In Black 2′, all his performances have been good.

        • Really?Cause I liked MIB2 and I,Robot.I haven’t seen Wild,Wild West but I like all Will’s movies so I’ll probably like that one too.I thought he was very convincing though.

  4. i am legend was pretty good except the zombies looked like they jumped out of an xbox. i would have liked to have seen more realistic makeup special effects and less CGI. anyway, coming back after an explosion would be kinda stretching it. the prequel is best if anything is to be done at all…

  5. I would love to see a sequel with will smith returning. And the alternate version was way better then the theatrical version. not only did the ending make more sense, but there was some added scenes in the middle that helped flesh out the plot more. overall those added scenes made the plot more solid so i wouldnt complain if we got a sequel based off the alternate version with smith alive

    • Brilliant, that makes sense and doesn’t ruin the plot. Hope they do it your way.

      • The plot was crap anyway. Everybody but Smith is a vampire. Vampires kill him. Other survivors were told by God to find him and escaped. The End.

        • Nobody was a vampire. The disease was similar to that of 28 Days Later which is rage rather than zombie, they were still alive and well but couldn’t think like a human would. The “God” part was just their interpretation of the events unfolding.

          • Actually, both the original novel this is based off of, The Last Man on Earth, and The Omega Man all used vampires (albeit highly psychotic ones) as the antagonist group. Only in the 2007 version were they turned into more of a bestial rage monster (although they were still light sensitive which is vampire-esque)

            The most faithful adaption thus far was The Omega Man. If you can manage to overlook the poor FX it’s actually a decent show.

          • In the source material they are fully capable of speaking and intelligent thought. And they are sensitive to sunlight. I can’t recall if they drink blood, so perhaps vampire might be too specific of a word.

            • Don’t forget that Neville used blood to lure the one creature into his trap so that should be another mark in the vampire column.

  6. A reboot!

    • Oh god no! Please dont give them any ideas!

  7. The movie was crap. There is no need for a sequel. They deviated so much for the source material it ruined the movie.

    • It’s an adaption/reinterpretation of the story and concepts in the book. As long as some core concepts in play (i.e. the last “man” aspect, the being lonely, the mutated people,etc) it’s fine.

      • The only thing they kept the same was a lonely man vs vampires (though the source and at least 1 of the 2 previous adaptations had them as a lot more human vs creatures). I am usually fine and can keep things separate from the source, but when you drastically change things to near beyond recognition, I have an issue with saying adaptation.

        • I agree with SteveE, the source material was trying to send the message that when the world is owned by vampires, the monster is actually the last remaining human who is killing them, not the vampires themselves.

          That wasn’t portrayed at all, as he had limited communication with them and didn’t speak to them as he was supposed to have been able to in the source material. The movie doesn’t really deserve the right to be named “I am Legend” since all it the movie was just a thriller with vampires and one guy left.

          Also, the Christian overtones at the end were super unnecessary and does not do the book justice.

            • That is right, I was so surprised that the ultimate irony which you reference to seemed to have been lost among all those writers and producers. I was really disappointed by the end of the film.

      • I’m not saying it’s bad to change source material to fit the format of the film, television series or movies. But when you completely disband the theme and importance of the source material, it betrays the fans of what makes the source material great.

        If the original book was about a man who was the last person on earth, I guarantee that it would have not been so successful as to have been adapted into a movie.

  8. Would rather see a remake and keep the original themes of the book intact.

    • I agree. Would have been much more interesting and thought-provoking.

  9. Yes!! Loved i am legend still wondering how their gonna bring back will smiths chracter and hoping that it wont be all flash backs

  10. I accept the book and the movie as two separate stories that happen to have the same name. Both were great.
    Do a Bourne Legacy thing and have a different story in the same universe; maybe truly adapt the book.
    Who knows…

  11. wouldn’t that be awesome if the first movie was all a dream??

    genius. problem solved, lets get big willie style back in it for more cash.

    i should work in hollywood :)

  12. The alternate ending, regardless of how the original source material had it, was pretty bad. I much prefer the theatrical cut ending, by far…

  13. The original ending made no sense anyway. The guy is a brilliant military scientist and has the foresight to cover his tracks, stockpile food, use an almanac to schedule his day, hook up and jerry rig everything from flood lights on a pathfinder to a bunch of explosives around his apartment YET he doesn’t have some alternate escape route in his lab?
    Wasn’t logical. The alternate ending made more sense and paid more credit to the “legend” aspect of the title since the creatures would survive and talk about him. Plus you’d have room for a sequel…though not sure what it would be about. Like others said the film felt fine as a one off.

    • @WELP

      Actually, his lab was part of a structure that was already there. Making an “alternate escape” doesn’t really seem completely doable if you really think about it. Also, an alternate escape will technically be an alternate entrance for the infected, so it’s kind of a plan that could back-fire.

      HOWEVER, I do agree that he could have done some things smarter for the kind of intelligent guy that he was. Why were the flood lights outside?? Why not fill the INSIDE with flood lights, so in case they make it inside, turn them all on, and they all fry immediately? Outside the light can scatter and you can’t really cover every square inch of wide open space. But indoors, they will have no way of avoiding the lights if you fill the inside of the place with the lights…

  14. Ugh no. The original story and concept (Being “legend” because of the horror you inflicted upon “innocent” “people” rather than saving them as you thought) was just fine. The re-evaluation took it, spit on it, and then humped it for good measure. Was it a terrible movie? No. Was it a terrible book adaption? Yes. Should there be another movie? No. Will I still watch it? Maybe, if I’m really bored.

  15. I love when people site the source material as being the reason as to why something was good or not, besides a handful of movies, the source material is very rarely ever used, look at the above stated Bourne Series, in comparison to the novels, they are not even close except for the names. I happened to be a huge fan of james patterson and the Alex Cross novels, which they have butchered in two films so far and will probably do again in the new coming out. In the case of I am Legend, the movie does stay atleast close to the main themes of the book. I thought Legend was a decent movie, and I did have a problem with the cgi, however for the poster who stated that they where suppose to be animalistic, yet they where able to plan an attack on his apt., well animals have shown superiour hunting and trapping skills for hundreds of years, and they are mutated humans we are talking about. So whose to say where the mutation had stopped and how it worked in everyone

  16. Eh. I liked the first one, but it could be a stand alone film. Ad while the alternate ending is better, for some reason it always seems to lose the suspense when I had watched it. If they do a new one, let it go with Smith’s idea. Other than that, just let it go.

  17. I would like to see a Prequel and have all the survivors he failed to save all have names corresponding to the mannequins in the video store.

  18. This is another example of Hollyweird changing source material to make what they think will be a better theatrical movie. This one will probably bite them in the ass. I dont see how you can base a sequel on a directors cut. The majority of movie goers will remember the theatrical ending only and they are not going to rush out to purchase the directors cut DVD just so see the sequel. (I am one of them)

  19. Didn’t the survivor woman at the very end say that Will Smith’s character was the legend referred to in “I am Legend”, because his cure saved the world? >_>

    so if he saved the world, than why are they making another movie?
    unless it’s a prequel, but they’re not calling it a prequel?

    hopefully it’s a reboot. >_>

    • I think so but the real reason he is called Legend is because of what he does to the “feral humans”, and so he is a legend to them. Which would make more sense if they kept the alternate ending.

  20. I had seen back in ’07 during the I Am Legend craze on IMDB that Will Smith had in list of movies a IAL prequal. I mean yes it was then and yes will said he wouldn’t mind it. But it was on the list of films he would be in, so I dont find this too much a surprise.

  21. Let me get this straight if it’s not a prequel then that means Neville’s ghost will be fighting vampire? Count me out. Sounds to me like they’re trying a bit too hard to get water from a dry well

  22. They should just play the alternative ending as a prologue at the beginning of 2. Pull a George Lucas and pretend the original never happened.

    I thought the first movie was awesome AND I’ve been a fan of Matheson for years. I’d definitely be open to a sequel. I’d really rather see Smith do Independence Day 2 first though.

    • “Pull a George Lucas and pretend the original never happened.” Laughed my ass of at that.

  23. I got it !!!!!!
    Aliens come to earth and , just for fun , they scoop up a bit of whats left of Will Smith’s character – then they clone him ( quickly ) and drop Willie 2.0 back in with the vamps.

    You’re welcome hollywood.
    I’ll look for my cheque in the mail :)

    • *pfft* just go with the Star trek TNG answer to anything contradictory …..”Alternate timeline”.

  24. Great. Just when I thought I’d forgotten the first one..

  25. They should be the first movie in history (that i know of) that does away with the theatrical ending and goes with the alternate ending.

    all they have to do is show the alternate ending at the begining of the sequel.

    then do thier story.

  26. They need to check their source material again Neville dies in the book

  27. Here’s an idea: what if the ending we saw was what the lady in the safe thought had happened but in actual fact Robert Neville was able to escape the explosion somehow……… Just a thought.

  28. Yaay! I loved the first movie, and i hated that they killed will smith off cuz i wanted a sequel! If the go ahead, i would like to see a prequel about how it all goes down, they showed some in the flashbacks with his family, but i wanted to see more of the panic in the streets with the infected running around. They couldnt ( like someone said above) ignore the theatrical ending like it never happened and go with the alternate ending( will smith surviving) their best bet is to make a prequel

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