Modern Hollywood gets a lot of flack for relying on franchises and creating more sequels than original concepts. And while it isn’t inherently a bad thing to give audiences more of something that they already showed they liked, there are times when it feels like it might be going too far. Such is the case with the recent news that Will Smith’s I Am Legend is apparently getting the sequel treatment, and that Michael B. Jordan will co-star in the new film alongside Smith himself. As interesting as that is, fans have questions, because, well, Will Smith’s character died in the last one.
I Am Legend, based on the Richard Matheson book of the same name, followed Will Smith’s Dr. Robert Neville as a lone survivor of a plague that turned the rest of the population into vampires. It was, overall, a successful film that people liked, so hearing that it’s going to get a sequel, as Will Smith himself confirmed on Instagram, probably got a lot of people excited.
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Then however, those same fans probably thought for an extra couple seconds and ended up with a lot of questions about this proposed I Am Legend 2. The idea of a sequel on its own isn’t crazy, we’ve heard it before, though the original director is previously on record as being against the idea. The first movie certainly left a door open to such things, but the fact that Will Smith is apparently in the sequel is where people are getting confused, as the movie’s theatrical ending had Smith’s character blow himself up in order to save two other humans, along with what is believed to be a cure for the vampire plague. Even Will Smith’s buddy DJ Jazzy Jeff is trying to wrap his head around what is happening here.
If we were just getting a sequel to the first movie with Michael B. Jordan in a starring role, that would be one thing. It could continue the story after the first movie ended with a new protagonist. It wouldn’t be the first time we’d seen a movie sequel go that route when the original star was unable to return for plot reasons, or simply didn’t want to return to the franchise. But somehow Will Smith is going to be in this movie.
Question: did they see the end of I AM LEGEND? https://t.co/OzlTb4vg9TMarch 4, 2022
And while the ending of I Am Legend the movie was significantly different from the book it was based on, the ending of the film still requires the death of Smith’s character for it to work. The idea in the theatrical release is that Robert Neville becomes a “legend” because of his sacrifice. If the sequel decides to just retcon the ending and decide, oh, wait he survived actually, it cheapens the ending we got. A lot of fans will have an issue with that.
Fans of the original version of ‘I am legend’ after seeing Dr Neville dying in a lab of vampire zombies only to see he’s returning for the sequel pic.twitter.com/kMYDp6wpjSMarch 5, 2022
But as noted, the ending of I Am Legend the movie is quite different from the source material. The ending of I Am Legend the movie was famously changed from one that was much closer to that of the book, and over the years it’s become accepted by many that the original ending is the better version. In that ending Smith’s character survives, so could we actually see an I Am Legend sequel that is based on the non-theatrical ending?
If you’re telling me that Will Smith is gonna be in 'I Am Legend 2' because it continues from the first films much more poignant, significantly better alt. ending where Neville reasons with the creatures by finding their humanity, then take all my money you sonova bitch I’m in. pic.twitter.com/aKf62We2qVMarch 5, 2022
We will likely get answers to these questions at some point, but exactly when is anybody's guess. Will I Am Legend 2 make any sense? Does it matter? We'll have to see.
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