The news that Warner Bros. has just made deals with Akiva Goldsman and Overbrook Entertainment to bring us an I Am Legend sequel is not surprising (as it’s been chattered about for years now), but it does somewhat confoundingly smack of an article from The Onion yesterday. That article, titled “Moviegoers Not Interested In Hearing What Is, Isn’t Possible, Demand Heath Ledger ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Appearance” might focus on the impossibility of bringing back the deceased Ledger for The Dark Knight Rises, but it does remind of the impossibility of bringing back the central character of I Am Legend: Will Smith’s Robert Neville, who (spoiler alert?) crocked off at the end of the first film.
But no matter in Hollywoodland! Though a second film has been talked about ever since the first film did big business at the box office (making $584m worldwide), it was long thought that the new film would be a prequel, but today’s report from Deadline Staten Island refutes that: “the film is not being called a prequel.” Well, alrighty! Maybe if they can bring back Neville, they can bring back his charming German Shepard, too.
The new film is set to be penned by Arash Amel (the scribe behind the new Grace Kelly biopic, Grace of Monaco). Smith is reportedly waiting until the script is ready before he commits, and director Francis Lawrence has yet to weigh in on his potential involvement.
The first film is an adaptation of Robert Matheson’s seminal novel, which has also inspired films like The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man, and is considered one of the touchstones of the zombie trope in modern entertainment. While Lawrence’s take on the material has some significant merits, I’ve always found Matheson’s original story much more compelling, and it will be interesting to see how much inspiration Amel draws from the original text. Or, of course, it could be a terrible disaster.
Yet, there’s likely one person who is stoked on this news, improbabilities and impossibilities aside – Ben Lyons is probably already prepping his next pullquote for the follow-up to a film that was, by his approximation, “one of the greatest movies ever made.”