I Am Legend 2 will bring together two former Disney stars!
Horror fans rejoice: the long-awaited sequel to the 2007 smash hit I Am Legend is on the way, and despite criticism for slapping Chris Rock live on television, Will Smith is back as Dr. Robert Neville.
After more than a decade, writer Akiva Goldsman has signed on with Warner Brothers for a multi-year deal that will bring the riveting story of Neville, a US Army virologist and one of the few survivors of a cancer treatment experiment gone wrong, back to the big screen.
Based on the book written by Richard Matheson, I Am Legend provides a witty yet dark look at the possibilities surrounding what could happen due to humanity’s obsession with prolonging life. Ultimately, while attempting to defeat cancer, they ushered in the end of days by creating a futile viral strain that turned the infected into rage-fueled zombies who don’t like light.
Will Smith’s performance in the initial film, set in a post-apocalyptic New York City, earned the actor a few accolades, such as the 2007 MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance. The film, released at the height of the zombie craze, resonated well with viewers, providing a seemingly honest and emotional look at what survival looks like as one of the last people left on a planet inhabited by beings that want to kill you.
Will Smith’s journey through acting would lead him to the film after several successful ventures like Men in Black (1997), Bad Boys (1995), and Ali (2001). Although Smith’s performance in I Am Legend was noteworthy, most who remember the film recall Sam, the loyal K9 companion of Dr. Robert Neville.
Although the end of the original film depicts Neville ultimately sacrificing himself to defeat an onslaught of monsters, Smith is slated to return to the role alongside another prominent Disney, well, Marvel, star.
According to Spotted News, Michael B. Jordan, most infamous for his role as Killmonger in the MCU’s Black Panther (2018), will be joining Will Smith in the decaying city of New York.
Jordan has had a productive career outside the MCU, appearing in other Marvel projects like Fantastic 4 (2015) and Red Tails (2012). Michael B. Jordan has been a name growing in popularity around Hollywood, so adding him to this newest horror production, alongside the now controversial Will Smith, will undoubtedly generate buzz around the new movie.
According to Variety, Akiva Goldsman, who is handling the screenplay for the new movie, was heavily inspired by the video game and now popular mini-series, The Last of Us, featuring Pedro Pascal.
Goldsman told Variety that unlike the original film, which grossed $585 million worldwide, his sequel would follow tightly to the ending in the 1954 novel. This alternative ending ultimately sees the survival of Dr. Robert Neville (sadly, not Sam).
“We trace back to the original Matheson book, and the alternate ending as opposed to the released ending in the original film,” he 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.“
“I’m obsessed with ‘The Last of Us,’ where we see the world just post-apocalypse but also after a 20-30-year lapse,” said Akiva Goldsman. “You see how the earth reclaims the world, and there’s something beautiful in the question of, as a 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.”
It’s totally unclear exactly how Michael B. Jordan will be inducted into the film’s rich history, but as the film will certainly not be a prequel, as director Francis Lawrence insisted that would not happen, we can assume that Jordan will join Smith on screen when the new film releases.
Due to the infamous slap to Chris Rock during the Academy Awards last year, there’s been little talk of Will Smith proceeding in Hollywood. However, we do know that he will be returning to his big blue role of Genie in a new follow-up to Disney’s 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin.
Given the original film’s success, and despite how some may feel about Will Smith and the ongoing drama with his wife, I Am Legend 2 is sure to bring the horror fans in droves when it hits theatres.