If you haven’t seen I Am Legend yet, then you probably never will. However, you should still be warned that a few spoilers show up in the story below. Here’s your first one: The second half is terrible.
Last week, the occasionally acclaimed screenwriter Akiva Goldsman gave an interview with io9 about his directorial debut, an adaptation of Mark Helprin’s beloved novel Winter’s Tale. He also talked a little bit about another beloved novel, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, and he mentioned a few ideas that would have gone into the potential prequel and sequel that were supposed to happen. We would have gotten to this story sooner, dear readers, but Goldsman’s words were so bizarre that we all blacked out at the same time and only recently awoke. I certainly hope the site has autonomously been posting things on our behalf.
Granted, he didn’t go into nearly as much detail as he could have, but these vague notions don’t seem like they could have been expanded upon in a way that wouldn’t have polarized audiences all over again. Goldsman says that their idea for a sequel would have centered on Will Smith’s Robert Neville again, despite the fact that he sacrificed himself at the end of the first one. Oh, wait, that doesn’t even matter, because they wrote him as a clone. A clone! I guess that seems like the obvious route, but that wouldn’t have even been necessary had they just gone with the alternate and more satisfying alternate ending, seen below.
Obviously, they would have had to stretch to figure out a big conflict for Neville to conquer in the sequel, so perhaps the prequel would have been the wiser decision. And indeed, Goldsman says one of the prequel ideas involved the first outbreak of the vampiric virus quickly spreading during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which sounds absolutely amazing to me. Somebody grab that Underdog balloon!
But another prequel concept took place immediately after the initial outbreak, when the world’s population was pretty depleted, and would have revolved around a trip to Washington. Not so bad, until he mentions they were going to add a dark seeker elephant that escaped from a zoo. Now, I can’t actually tell if that’s a terrible idea or a wildly spectacular one. I mean, when you compare it to all those other evil elephant dramas…
The strangest part about all this is that Goldsman actually wrote the scripts with these things in them. Actually, the strangest part is when Goldsman tells io9 writer Meredith Woerner, “In fact if you’re available you could be in the next movie. It will never happen but we really enjoyed trying to make it happen.” That sounds like something someone would say right before bodies get shoved in car trunks.
Goldsman wrote a fair number of Fringe episodes, as well as some of Ron Howard’s films, winning the Oscar for 2001’s A Beautiful Mind. But he also wrote Batman & Robin and Lost in Space, and his dream project Winter’s Tale has been getting panned left and right by critics. We’re not too upset that I Am Legend 2: Also Legend never got made. Especially when The Omega Man and The Last Man on Earth are such superior adaptations of Richard Matheson’s novel. Watch the latter in its entirety below as you try to get CGI elephants out of your head.