I Am Legend 2: Release Cast & Everything We Know
Warner Bros. is headed back to the apocalypse with Will Smith, as the studio preps I Am Legend 2.
The first I Am Legend film (based on the classic 20th-century novel by Richard Matheson) released in 2007 was both a critical and financial success, serving as a faithful adaption and one of Will Smith’s most-celebrated blockbuster roles.
Details are sparse when it comes to the upcoming sequel, but ahead is everything we know about I Am Legend 2.
When Is I Am Legend 2 Releasing?
No official release date has been announced for I Am Legend 2, as the project is still currently in the early stages of development.
The sequel was first officially announced in March 2022 (via Deadline), with Akiva Goldsman set to return to pen the script after also writing the first movie.
While updates on the film have been few and far between as the title seemed stuck in development hell, Deadline reported the project was still moving ahead in February 2023, with Goldsman’s production company Weed Road getting a first look deal with Warner Bros. for the project.
As a part of this new deal, Goldman hinted, “We’re starting with two projects that are fun” the first of which being I Am Legend 2:
“We’re starting with two projects that are fun and very much Warners; the sequel to ‘I Am Legend,’ with Will and Michael B. Jordan, and the sequel to ‘Constantine’ with Keanu Reeves that Francis Lawrence is going to direct. So I’m coming out of the gate fast. We’re doing it with JJ Abrams, and Francis and Keanu and I have been pretty deep in the story breaking stage.”
However, the mutant-filled epic still has yet to find a director. Original I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence has commented on returning to the post-apocalyptic world, but has yet to sign on to direct the project.
Speaking with ComicBook.com in 2022, Lawerence said he has “spoken to [Goldsman] a little bit about it” but still thinks the movie is “a ways away:”
“I have spoken to Akiva a little bit about it, but I think that is still a ways away. I’d love to do it. I’ve heard some things about ‘I Am Legend.’ We actually don’t have much, just brainstorming things for ‘Constantine,’ but I’m sworn to secrecy on ‘I Am Legend.'”
What “a ways away” actually means remains unclear but given the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes in Hollywood, development on I Am Legend 2 will have to be pushed out even further than it already has, as writers like Goldsman have to put down the pen and head to the picket line.
Is Will Smith Back for I Am Legend 2?
As long as I Am Legend 2 has been in the ether, Will Smith has been attached to star yet again.
Smith played Dr. Robert Neville in the first film, who becomes the quote-unquote “last man on earth” after a virus outbreak wipes out humanity, turning people into bloodthirsty ravenous monsters.
Neville’s return comes despite the character dying at the end of the theatrical cut of the original film; however, it has been made clear the alternate ending (via USA Today) included on the home release will be taken as canon, with Smith’s character living just like he did in the book the movie is based on.
Smith himself said he at one point “was gonna leave [the I Am Legend] alone,” but after hearing the latest pitch for the story knew he had to come back for the sequel:
“The idea came up. I can’t talk about it yet. But it’s a really, really cool concept and [Michael B. Jordan] was a part of creating the idea. It was one of those I was gonna leave alone, and then I head the idea. But that might work, I think we can do that.”
Originally I Am Legend 2 was being conceived as a prequel, following Smith’s Richard Neville before the mutant outbreak, but was ultimately abandoned around 2009.
On this prequel, director Francis Lawerence noted on an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that “it just felt forced to do a prequel” and, “We’ve done the last man on earth, he died at the end of the movie, we can’t do it again:”
“I saw very quickly after the movie came out, and I went, ‘People came to see the last man on earth. We’ve done the last man on earth, he died at the end of the movie, we can’t do it again.’ But people weren’t in love with him as a character. It’s not Indiana Jones, like this kind of iconic character that you just want to see again and again and again. And it just felt forced to do a prequel.”
Is Michael B Jordan in I Am Legend 2?
Announced alongside the reveal of I Am Legend 2 is a newcomer to the franchise, Michael B. Jordan. The Black Panther and Creed actor will seemingly co-star alongside Will Smith, as the two take on this post-apocalyptic world.
Jordan was actually said to have been largely responsible for getting the sequel back on track with his pitch for the story being the thing that convinced star Will Smith to return.
The actor’s role in the film remains unclear, but there have been hints about who he could be playing.
Given that the last thing fans saw at the end of the first I Am Legend film was a settlement of some sort, pointing to more than just Smith’s Robert Neville (and a few others seen in the first movie) surviving the mutant outbreak.
Jordan’s character could potentially be another survivor from that New York settlement, working alongside Robert, with the franchise torch possibly getting passed from Smith to Jordan in the upcoming sequel.
I Am Legend 2’s Alternate Ending Explained
For fans who only ever saw the theatrical cut of I Am Legend, there will be some confusion as to how a sequel could even happen.
The original ending to the movie saw Will Smith’s Dr. Robert Neville die, sacrificing himself while combating a mutant horde while making sure the cure he had extracted was safe.
That, however, was changed in the physical release of the movie with an alternate ending that closely mimicked that of the original 1954 novel. This ending instead did away with the cure plot point entirely and saw Smith’s character evade the mutant horde, meaning Robert Neville is alive and well (or as well as one can be during the apocalypse) and – more importantly – ready for a sequel.
This alternate ending, according to writer Akiva Goldman, is now seen as canon.
He previously revealed the sequel will “trace back to the original Matheson book, and the alternate ending,“ and build from there (via Collider):
“We trace back to the original Matheson book, and the alternate ending as opposed to the released ending in the original film.”
What Will Happen in I Am Legend 2?
Plot specifics for I Am Legend 2 have yet to be released, but there have been some minor to-level details revealed.
Producer Jon Mone told Deadline in March 2022 that fans can expect an “incredibly cool” story for the I Am Legend sequel:
“It is an unbelievably cool idea, an idea that made [Will] and Akiva believe that it was worth telling another story. I really can’t say [if it’s based on any of the graphic novels], but it’s based on the minds of Will, and Akiva, and Michael B. Jordan, who came up with this incredible angle on how you can continue that story.”
Writer Akiva Goldsman revealed that I Am Legend 2 will pick up “a few decades later than the first,” with the world taking inspiration from the hit PlayStation video game and HBO drama The Last of Us:
“This will start a few decades later than the first,” he said. “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.”
He added the sequel will see a world in which “man’s time on the planet as the dominant species had come to an end:”
“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.”
Is There A Trailer For I Am Legend 2?
No trailer for I Am Legend 2 has yet been released. Filming on the project still seems fairly far off on the horizon, so it will likely be years before fans get a first look at the film.
Even if the I Am Legend 2 team were wanting to make progress on the movie, they couldn’t at this time simply due to the ongoing job action in Hollywood.
This means that any timing of a potential trailer down the line will be pushed back even further as the project is put on hold until the writers’ and actors’ strikes are resolved.
I Am Legend 2 has not yet been officially dated.