I Am Legend 2 is set to bring back Will Smith's character in an unexpected way since the sequel is confirmed to pick up after the movie's alternate ending.
I Am Legend centered around Smith's Robert Neville as the last man on Earth trying to survive against Darkseekers, vampire-like infected humans who rise every night to wreak havoc.
The movie earned widespread acclaim from fans and critics, but many agreed that its alternate ending was better than the original. I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence even chimed in, saying that he agrees with the audience's sentiments since "it's the more philosophical version of the end."
As the sequel officially received the green light last year, the first surprising plot details emerged online.
I Am Legend 2's First Plot Details Teased
Speaking with Deadline, I Am Legend producer Akiva Goldsman shared new details about the sequel, confirming that it will "trace back to the original [Richard] Matheson book" while also exploring the ramifications of its alternate ending.
While sharing that I Am Legend 2 will "start a few decades later" after the first movie, Goldsman first explained how the sequel will be different, even using The Last of Us as a reference:
“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."
In the alternate ending, Will Smith's Robert Neville didn't die. Instead, he discovered that the infected were sentient when the alpha male Darkseeker was simply trying to recover his mate.
In the end, Neville realizes that he has become a monster in the eyes of the infected, leading to the abandonment of his research in the hope of finding the survivors' colony.
Goldsman shared that this ending will be further explored in the follow-up, which also stars Michael B. Jordan:
"We trace back to the original Matheson book, and the alternate ending as opposed to the released ending in the original film. 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.”
Jordan is set to also serve as producer of the sequel alongside Goldsman and Smith.
How I Am Legend's Alternate Ending Sets up an Interesting Sequel
In the alternate ending, the alpha male Darkseeker only went berserk due to Robert Neville's act of taking his mate. Given that the leader of that pack decided not to kill Will Smith's character, a temporary truce was made.
Still, this doesn't mean Neville, Anna, and Ethan will encounter similar Darkseekers during their journey to the survivors' colony in Vermont.
Akiva Goldsman's confirmation that I Am Legend 2 will start "a few decades" after the first movie suggests that Neville may have already reached the survivors' colony and potentially encountered other packs of Darkseekers throughout the country.
Moreover, it's possible that Neville successfully developed a cure. This plot point could be the main focus of I Am Legend 2, with a good portion of the Darkseekers trying to avoid the said cure and leading to another clash between them and the humans.
It's also possible that some Darkseekers could've evolved through the years, leading to more dangerous encounters. Goldsman's reference to The Last of Us in his latest comments could hint that a similar trajectory where the infected evolved to Clickers and Bloaters could happen in the world of I Am Legend.
As a result, Neville and Michael B. Jordan's unnamed characters have a lot on their plates in I Am Legend 2.