Advertisement

'I Am Legend 2' is set to star Will Smith and Michael B. Jordan. Here is how Smith's character could return — despite dying in the original.

'I Am Legend 2' is set to star Will Smith and Michael B. Jordan. Here is how Smith's character could return — despite dying in the original.
Will Smith as Robert Neville and a vampire in "I Am Legend."
Will Smith as Robert Neville and Dash Mihok as the Alpha Male in "I Am Legend."Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Will Smith is set to reprise his role as Dr. Robert Neville in a sequel to "I Am Legend."

  • Smith is expected to star alongside Michael B. Jordan in the movie.

  • "I Am Legend 2" is expected to rely more heavily on the original book the movie was based on.

Yes, you read that right: Will Smith is set to reprise his role as the postapocalyptic survivor Dr. Robert Neville in a sequel to 2007's "I Am Legend."

"I Am Legend" saw Smith play the sole survivor of an apocalypse that turns humans into seemingly mindless vampiric mutants, called Darkseekers.

Though Smith's hero was killed off at the end of the movie's theatrical cut, the actor was confirmed for the sequel back in March 2022.

The "Black Panther" and "Creed" star Michael B. Jordan is also set to star in and produce the sequel, and he may have inspired Smith to return to his role.

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight in March 2022, Smith said he wasn't originally interested in coming back for a sequel until hearing Jordan's idea for the film.

"The idea came up. I can't talk about it yet. But it's a really, really cool concept, and he was a part of creating the idea," Smith said. "So it was one of those ones I was gonna leave alone, and then I heard the idea. I was like, 'That might work. I think we can do that.'"

But how exactly might Smith's Neville return in the movie?

'I Am Legend 2' is expected to follow on from the alternate ending to 'I Am Legend'

Dash Mihok as the Alpha Male and Will Smith as Robert Neville in "I Am Legend."
Dash Mihok as the Alpha Male and Will Smith as Robert Neville in "I Am Legend."

Mihok and Smith in "I Am Legend."Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. has been trying to get "I Am Legend 2" off the ground for years, but it wasn't announced until March 2022.

In February, the producer and writer Akiva Goldsman confirmed that the sequel was going ahead in an interview with Deadline, saying it'd take place "decades" after the 2007 movie.

Anyone who's seen the original film will remember that Smith's character sacrifices himself so Anna (Alice Braga) and Ethan (Charlie Tahan) can escape from the Darkseekers.

But Goldsman said the sequel would follow on from the alternate ending to "I Am Legend," rather than the ending fans saw in theaters.

In December, Smith appeared at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia, and gave an update about the sequel.

"I have a call with Michael B. Jordan tomorrow. The script just came in… I'm probably giving away too much information," he said, per Deadline.

"You have to be a real 'I Am Legend' buff, but in the first one, in the theatrical version, my character died. But for the DVD, there was an alternate version of the ending of the movie where my character lived," Smith added.

"We are going with the mythology of the DVD version. I can't tell you anything more, but Michael B. Jordan is in and we're doing it," he continued.

In the alternate ending, which was included on the movie's DVD home release, Neville makes peace with the Darkseekers by giving them the female Darkseeker he had been experimenting on to find a cure for the mutants. He realizes he's become a monster to them and they are simply trying to defend themselves against him.

The final scenes show Neville leaving New York to find other survivors with Anna and Ethan.

'I Am Legend 2' is expected to be more faithful to the original book, which introduces a vampire civilization

Will Smith as Robert Neville in "I Am Legend."
Will Smith as Robert Neville in "I Am Legend."

Smith in "I Am Legend."Warner Bros. Pictures

As well as following on from the alternate ending, the new movie is said to be more faithful to the 1954 novel that "I Am Legend" is based on.

In the author Richard Matheson's novel of the same name, Neville is actually up against more traditional vampires after a pandemic has transformed humanity into blood-sucking creatures. And yes, they're even scared of garlic.

While it sounds silly, the story was also about what the world looked like after the human race was no longer in charge.

And this is what Goldsman is keen to look at in closer detail.

"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," the writer and producer told Deadline in February.

Matheson's original story ends with Neville reckoning with the fact that the vampires have created their own society in the vacuum left behind after the death of humanity.

If Goldsman wants to do something new, the Darkseekers could evolve and get smarter in the sequel, potentially building their civilization, just like in the book.

'I Am Legend 2' release date

There is no word yet on when "I Am Legend 2" will hit theaters.

This article was originally published on August 30, 2023, and was most recently updated on December 4, 2023.

Read the original article on Insider