Home Entertainment I Am Legend Alternate Ending and what it means for I Am Legend 2 starring Michael B. Jordan

I Am Legend Alternate Ending and what it means for I Am Legend 2 starring Michael B. Jordan

by Ana Lopez
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It’s been sixteen years since the Will Smith vehicle I Am Legend, based on Richard Matheson’s book. The apocalyptic story follows Dr. Robert Neville as possibly the last man on Earth after a plague killed everyone or turned them into vampires. Set in 2012, it is a chilling cautionary tale. The virus that effectively ends the human race was created when Dr. Krippin discovered a cure for cancer by genetically modifying measles. Unfortunately, her virus is highly contagious, and it is monstrous to all but the small portion of the population that is immune. Neville is immune and lives with his sweet dog Samantha. We get to know and care for these, hoping things aren’t as pointless as they seem.

It is an action-packed film that is as beautiful as it is bleak. Neville spends most of the film desperately trying to find a cure and any survivors. At the end of the original film, Neville sacrifices himself by blowing up himself and a pack of vampires. Just before he died, he gave the cure to fellow survivor Anna (Alice Braga of Elysium and The Suicide Squad). He died so she and her son could escape and get treatment to the Vermont survivor’s camp.

He sacrificed himself in the hope that Anna could bring the cure to safety and begin the process of saving humanity. After watching Neville throughout the movie, it’s a hard blow that’s hard to swallow. The film’s finality also closes the door for future sequels. The book had a different, much more hopeful ending that the I Am Legend sequel starring Will Smith and Michael B Jordan will use as canon. Using this alternate ending gives room for the story to move forward.

i am a legend
Official trailer screenshot I Am Legend

What is the alternate ending?

This alternate ending has never been seen in theaters, but can be found on the DVD and some streaming services. It follows Matheson’s book closely. However, instead of Neville giving up his life to save others, Neville is allowed to live if he returns the vampire test subject to the vampires. Anna, Neville, and her son head to the safe zone in Vermont to produce and deliver the cure. It’s an ending that allows for more character growth and opportunities for amazing set pieces to be explored in I Am Legend 2.

I Am Legend 2 should explore what it really means to be human. The vampires in the alternate ending left Neville alone when he released the female, as they weren’t exactly the monsters he thought they were. They are not thoughtless, callous animals. They have created their own society and hierarchy, and Neville threatens their lives. It could be fascinating to see if these two groups can work together rather than against each other. Some vampires may choose to be turned back into humans, while others may not. It raises a philosophical question about what is worth saving and who should make those decisions.

Filmmaker Akila Goldsman recently told Deadline that the sequel would take decades after the end of the first movie and follow the alternate ending of the book. Goldsman wouldn’t say who would play Jordan, but hinted that The Last Of Us had an influence. How the Earth would change after human influence wears off is intriguing. Earth was here before we were and will be here long after we have left. Visually and logistically, how that looks and feels will be a fundamental focus of the film. Nature would reclaim itself and regain control of its surfaces and functions. Constructions and buildings would crumble and concrete would be covered by greenery.

What was a major theme in Matheson’s book that will be explored in I Am Legend 2?

One of the essential themes in the novel is the idea that our time is up. Like the dinosaurs before us, we are becoming obsolete as Earth’s greatest predators and influencers. What happens when we are no longer at the top of the food chain? How would the world look and react to the last of us left? Nature’s beautiful ferocity and resilience will be on full display in the sequel, and I’m expecting stunning set pieces that are just as much part of the story as the characters we’ll be following.

The idea that Neville, our main protagonist throughout the movie, can also be a villain is explored better in the novel. He’s our hero, but the ogre of the vampires. This concept makes the title logical. Neville is the urban legend. he is the monster the vampires warn their children about. Neville is the thing that bumps into at night. The vampires didn’t ask to change, but now that they have, they’ve adapted. They formed families and created a new world. They are the next step in humanity’s evolution and Neville threatens their survival. The idea that humans, as we know them, are likely to go extinct and have to make way for the next species is inherent in the story.

We’ll have to wait and see if Goldsman will follow suit in I Am Legend 2. Making it canon with an alternate ending leaves countless places for the story, though, and with the addition of Creed’s Michael B. Jordan, plenty of eye candy to match the action. It sounds like Goldsman wants to dig deeper into the intellectual questions of survival and morality in the sequel.

However, the stakes for this tentpole and a sequel to Keanu Reeve’s Constantine from Warner Bros are encouraging. These older IPs have languished for too long and deserve a fresh look. Plus, Goldsman’s Weed Road just signed a contract with Warner Bros, meaning the movie company can finally get the ship on track after the massive divestment of many HBO Max properties. Both films are in development and are not expected until next year.

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