clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

You may not be aware of or remember that alternate ending for ‘I Am Legend’ — Let’s discuss

You can’t kill off Will Smith and that’s exactly what the ‘I Am Legend’ second ending didn’t do.

Warner Bros

Ever since the 2007 loose film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel, I Am Legend, first hit theaters, there has been a plethora of post-apocalyptic stories on the big and small screens to scratch that desolate society itch from A Quiet Place, World War Z, The Walking Dead, and now The Last of Us. With a worldwide gross of $585 million, I Am Legend’s original theatrical ending was pretty final for its main character. But we all know how Hollywood loves that profitable IP, so a sequel was inevitable.

While the second chapter in the I Am Legend canon was in development for a bit, it got a specific nod when Akiva Goldsman spoke about it to Deadline. Not only will the sequel star Michael B. Jordan, but Will Smith will return as virologist Robert Neville. If you've seen the film, you probably thought of two things:

  1. Huh? As a zombie? (imagine a Will Smith zombie render)
  2. I guess this is going to be flashback-a-palooza,

Well, no. His character is coming back completely alive because they are going with the alternate ending. Some time has passed, and many people either don’t know the ending or have forgotten it. Thankfully, you have me to Wayne’s World transition back to explain this to you.

The original I Am Legend had a lot bleaker tone in some aspects. The Darkseekers advance to Neville’s fortified home, and Neville makes the ultimate sacrifice with a grenade. Before that, he gives a cure to fellow survivors Anna (Alice Braga) and Ethan (Charlie Tahan), who make it out and find a survivors' camp. Thus, Neville’s sacrifice has become a legend. It sounds like a noble, hopeful ending, but it seems like the studio went, “uh oh, we killed off a high-grossing star. What are we going to do?”

I Am Legend’s alternate ending is much more in line with the book and gives a little more resonance to the Darkseekers and what Neville was trying to do with the cure. The Darkseekers make the same mad dash to Neville’s home and corner him, Anna, and Ethan in the basement. However, this time, Neville wheels out the female darkseeker to the alpha darkseeker. It’s at that point they come to an understanding. Neville gets to witness the two darkseekers have an emotional connection and realizes, “well, maybe I shouldn’t just see them as experiments.” The alpha dark seeker backs off, making Neville a minced meat pie after apologizing.

While Neville, Ann, and Ethan look for the survivor colony, it seems as though there’s a new understanding between the humans and zombie cohorts. Will this continue in the new film, or will this degrade whatever contemporary society is? It looks like we’ll have to wait and see,