How Will Smith’s I Am Legend Sequel Will Channel The Last Of Us

Will Smith in I Am Legend, and Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us
(Image credit: Warner Bros/HBO)

One of the higher-ranking movies on Will Smith’s resume is 2007’s I Am Legend, the adaptation of the same-named novel by Richard Matheson that starred Smith as US Army virologist Dr. Robert Neville. In March 2022, it was announced that Smith will team up with Michael B. Jordan for an I Am Legend sequel, but given the way the original movie ended, how exactly is this going to work? Now we finally have some context for this, and have also learned how I Am Legend 2 will channel the hit HBO show The Last of Us.

Rather than pick up where I Am Legend’s theatrical ending left off, which saw Robert Neville sacrificing his life to save Alice Braga’s Anna and Charlie Tahan’s Ethan from the Darkseekers, I Am Legend 2 will instead continue from its predecessor’s alternate ending, which some argue was the superior one. Akiva Goldsman, who co-wrote I Am Legend with Mark Protosevich and is currently penning on the sequel, informed Deadline that I Am Legend 2 will “trace back” to Richard Matheson’s original book and have “a little more fidelity to the original text,” namely through how it explores man no longer being the dominant species on Earth. He also said the following:

This will start a few decades later than the first. I’m obsessed with The Last of Us, where we see the world just post-apocalypse but also after 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? 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.

While I Am Legend followed along with Will Smith’s character three years after that world’s outbreak began, HBO’s The Last of Us focuses on Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie 20 years after their world was hit by a fungal infection that results in people transforming into zombie-like monstrosities. Since 16 years have passed since I Am Legend came out, and we’re presumably a few years off from I Am Legend 2’s release if it does indeed move forward, this will give us an opportunity to see how that version of Earth looks a couple decades after nearly all of humanity was turned into Darkseekers. Whether Robert Neville will also have a young girl with him as his companion/surrogate daughter remains to be seen.

For those who haven’t seen I Am Legend’s alternate ending, those final minutes saw Robert Neville surviving his conflict with the Darkseekers and realizing that his experiments on the infected had resulted in him being seen as a monster in the eyes of the Darkseekers. So he abandoned his laboratory and left with Anna and Ethan to start a new life. For a long time, it was unclear where things stood with I Am Legend 2, but thanks to Akiva Goldsman’s production company, Weed Road Pictures, signing a new deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, Goldsman is focused on delivering that, as well as Keanu Reeves’ Constantine 2, to the masses. There’s still no word on how Michael B. Jordan fits into the sequel, but the Creed actor will produce alongside Will Smith.

While we wait for more updates on what’s coming in I Am Legend 2, rewatch the original with your HBO Max subscription. That platform is also where you can stream new episodes of The Last of Us, which has already been renewed for Season 2.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.