Richard Matheson’s tales of wondrous terror have always sparked Hollywood’s imagination. What Dreams May Come, Duel, Real Steel, Stir of Echoes, and a surprising number of Twilight Zone episodes have been adapted from Matheson’s works, but only one of his novels has spawned multiple big-screen adaptations. I Am Legend imagined a world decimated by a horrific virus that attacked the living as well as the dead, turning them into vampiric creatures. It was first adapted into The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price in 1964, then into Omega Man with Charlton Heston in 1971. In 2007, Will Smith stepped into the role of the scientist hero Robert Neville for I Am Legend, which grossed $585 million. Smith has joked and hinted at the possibility of doing a follow-up a few times over the years, but he announced late last week that he is officially moving forward with I Am Legend 2.
Akiva Goldsmith (who co-wrote and produced I Am Legend) will join Smith in producing I Am Legend 2 for Smith’s own production company. Relative newcomer Arash Amel has been tapped for the screenplay. The weird part of the project’s announcement over at The Hollywood Reporter, though, is that it states there is a “potential” for Will Smith to star in the film.
Anyone who has seen I Am Legend can clearly see the flaw in this. How does one star in the sequel to a film your character dies in? Sure, there is that alternate ending, but it’s difficult to base a sequel on an alternate ending without quite a bit of backpedaling. Even a prequel would be somewhat strange, given how much we are shown in flashbacks in I Am Legend.