Will Smith will be traveling further into the future for “I Am Legend 2.”
The Best Actor Oscar winner is set to lead the sequel to the beloved 2007 thriller, with the follow-up based 20 to 30 years after the events of the first film. Screenwriter and producer Akiva Goldsman said that the video game and HBO series “The Last of Us” directly inspired “I Am Legend 2.”
“This will start a few decades later than the first. I’m obsessed with ‘The Last of Us,’ where we see the world just post-apocalypse but also after a 20 to 30-year lapse,” Goldsman told Deadline. “You see how the earth reclaims the world, and there’s something beautiful in the question of, as man steps away from being the primary tenant, what happens?”
Goldsman continued, “That will be especially visual in New York. I don’t know if they’ll climb up to the Empire State Building, but the possibilities are endless. We trace back to the original [Richard] Matheson book, and the alternate ending as opposed to the released ending in the original film. What Matheson was talking about was that man’s time on the planet as the dominant species had come to an end. That’s a really interesting thing we’re going to get to explore.”
As for the controversial change between the novel and the film, Goldsman said, “There will be a little more fidelity to the original text” for the sequel.
The original film gained new traction in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the story follows a scientist (Smith) who is a lone survivor living in New York City after humans are turned into mutants by an airborne disease.
Smith is reprising his role after more than a decade of the sequel being in the works. The “Emancipation” star is joined by franchise newcomer Michael B. Jordan.
“It was one of those ones I was gonna leave alone, and then I heard the idea,” Smith previously told Entertainment Tonight. “That might work. I think we can do that.”
Smith teased that while the plot is still under wraps, “it’s a really, really cool concept,” and Jordan was “part of creating the idea.”
Both Smith and Jordan are set to produce. A director is not publicly attached to the project yet.
Jordan and Smith both teased a glimpse at the inspiration for “I Am Legend 2” on Instagram in March 2022, sharing a production still of an infected city.