Movie Reviews

I Am Legend 2 Story Tease Hints Smith's Return Is Bigger Than A Retcon

The news that I Am Legend 2 has an “unbelievably cool” premise hints at the possibility that the sequel will do more than merely retcon the existing ending of I Am Legend. 2007’s I Am Legend seems like a tricky movie to follow up with a sequel after an infamous change to I Am Legend’s original novel ending. This saw the movie adaptation of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror kill Will Smith’s heroic loner, Dr. Robert Neville, with the doctor sacrificing himself to ensure that a cure for a widespread zombie-like virus made it out of New York.

However, the long-awaited I Am Legend 2 is in the works, and Smith is returning, meaning the sequel will at the very least need to retcon the ending of I Am Legend. That said, I Am Legend 2 producer John Mone recently claimed that Smith, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and new star Michael B Jordan came up with something “unbelievably cool” for the sequel. As a result, these comments could imply that I Am Legend 2 may do more than merely continue on from I Am Legend’s alternate ending.

Related: How I Am Legend 2 Can Bring Back Will Smith’s Neville (Without Resurrecting Him)

In the alternate ending’s version of events, Neville doesn’t die but rather discovers that the “monsters” he has been hunting are sentient beings with thoughts and feelings. I Am Legend’s big twist proves its scientist antihero has secretly been a mythical villain to them all along, in line with the source novel’s ending. This would be an easy point to pick up the story from, but Mone’s tease that I Am Legend 2’s story will be something “unbelievably cool” suggests it may attempt something more ambitious than simply following on from this alternate ending. In this way, there is a chance that Smith’s character could be a clone he produced during his lifetime or a clone created by later generations after his death, neither of which would require the creators to retcon I Am Legend‘s theatrical ending.

Retconning I Am Legend’s theatrical ending to bring Smith’s Neville back would be logical and appease the critics who argued that the new ending missed the novel’s message. However, Smith playing a sweet I Am Legend 2 hero after his recent behavior at the Academy Awards may be hard for audiences to swallow. Meanwhile, the possibility of Smith’s character being a clone would mean the sequel would make more sense without viewers needing to know the original movie had an alternate ending before viewing I Am Legend 2.

After all, bringing Neville back via a retcon would make I Am Legend 2 undeniably different from the original movie, shifting its genre from being a survivalist story into one where the monsters and humans presumably coexist. As such, I Am Legend 2 trying something more ambitious than using the movie’s alternate ending to retcon I Am Legend should be commended – but altering a cinematic ending 15 years after the fact is already quite a radical move in and of itself.

More: Why I Am Legend’s CGI Zombies Look So Terrible

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