“I Am Legend 2” is currently in development as a sequel to the 2007 film starring Will Smith. This unexpected continuation holds promise if it remains faithful to the source material, the 1954 novel by Richard Matheson. Both the book and the original movie follow Dr. Robert Neville, seemingly the sole survivor of a deadly outbreak that has transformed most humans into “Darkseekers,” a vampire-like species.
The surprise of this sequel arises from the fact that the initial film, despite its success, took liberties with the novel’s plot, leading to a deviation in the story. In the original film, the protagonist meets his demise, a stark contrast to the book. “I Am Legend 2” aims to rectify this by aligning more closely with the novel’s narrative.
Matheson’s novel introduces a complex subplot involving Neville’s interaction with Ruth, a human-looking yet infected woman who controls her bloodlust. This element was overlooked in the first movie, potentially justifying the sequel’s existence. Complicating matters further, the original film presented two different endings: one where Neville sacrifices himself for survivors and another where he learns of the infected’s retained intelligence and emotions. The latter ending resonates better with the novel and sets a path for the sequel’s potential success.
The sequel intends to follow the alternate ending, wherein Neville partners with Anna and Ethan, survivors who hail from Brazil in search of a distant camp. This ending provides an opportunity for the sequel to revisit themes from the book, such as societal rebuilding by a faction of controlled infected.
With Will Smith reprising his role as Neville and a confirmed time jump from the first film, the upcoming sequel can potentially explore the survivor camp as an equivalent to the society Ruth belongs to in the book. This choice may delve into deeper concepts like social dynamics and the ethical implications of Neville’s experiments. By taking this direction, “I Am Legend 2” could sidestep the pitfalls of being a lackluster follow-up and instead offer a more meaningful and engaging extension of the original film’s universe.