I Am Legend 2 will bring back Will Smith’s character, Robert Neville, by following the first film’s alternate ending in which he lives – but this still presents a problem. The long-awaited sequel to the 2007 I Am Legend movie is intended to align more closely with the novel by author Richard Matheson. Though the book does follow the plot line in which Neville discovers that the vampires, or Darkseekers as they are called in the movie, are capable of emotional connection, it ends with the character’s death. So now, the direction forward is unclear.


In the original ending of I Am Legend, protagonist Robert Neville sacrificed his life so the Krippin Virus cure he had discovered could make it out into the world where it was needed. In this version, the victims of I Am Legend‘s zombie-like pandemic were nothing but mindless monsters. In the movie’s alternate ending, however, Neville realizes that the beings he had been capturing and experimenting on were capable of love. This was the case in the I Am Legend book as well, but unlike the novel, Neville survives this version of the film ending. This poses the question whether Neville will live or die in I Am Legend 2.

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I Am Legend 2 Has A Problem Whether Robert Neville Lives Or Dies


Neither ending of the I Am Legend movie was perfect. The theatrical version eliminated the idea that the “zombies” were capable of complex thought and were beginning to form new societies, but it did kill off Will Smith’s character just as the book did. Now, with I Am Legend 2 following the alternate ending, he has been miraculously brought back to life. However, this places the sequel film in an uncomfortable place. Will it commit to keeping Neville alive and seeing him live past the new movie, or has Will Smith’s character been brought back to life just to kill again later in a different way?

Since Robert Neville already received an on-screen death in I Am Legend 2, it would be difficult to duplicate the emotional impact of his sacrifice in a sequel. Doing so might even feel silly to audiences and would make it clear that the film’s original ending was retconned just to make some money from Will Smith’s presence in a sequel. On the other hand, if Neville survives I Am Legend 2, it would significantly contradict the entire point of the original novel’s story – since without dying, Robert Neville can’t become the titular “legend” that he is supposed to.

Will Smith’s Robert Neville Must Die To Become The ‘Legend’

Will Smith in I Am Legend

In the I Am Legend book, the title refers to the fact that, as the last member of the uninfected human species, Robert Neville becomes a legend upon death. In this version, the character is captured by the vampires, who he then realized saw him as a monster and murderer for the way he had been experimenting on their people. Willingly, he relinquished control and accepted that he no longer had a place on Earth and would content himself with being a legend. On the other hand, in the original I Am Legend movie ending, Neville is a legend because of his great sacrifice and role in discovering a cure.

However, the alternate ending of the I Am Legend movie gives little meaning to the title. This indicates that by continuing this version of the story, audiences will discover how Will Smith’s character will become a legend. This could mean a unique ending than his character has received in any adaptation, but given the book’s overall themes, death might be the only option that makes sense for Neville. Of course, I Am Legend 2 will have to get creative with how it goes about this, so it doesn’t feel entirely disjointed with the many versions of the story that now exist.

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