Off the back of the huge success of I Am Legend back in 2007, Warner Bros was keen to develop either a prequel or a sequel to the film. Will Smith headlined the movie of course, that was directed by Francis Lawrence. In particular, there was a leaning towards a follow-up set before the first movie, that would have seen Smith’s character trying to lead survivors of the event that’s all but wiped out humanity to Washington.
And now Lawrence, in conversation with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, has been chatting about why the follow-on movie never happened.
“Warners was really, really, REALLY into coming up with something, and I just didn’t know how to do it,” he said. “I saw very quickly after the movie came out, and I went ‘people came to see the last man on earth. We’ve done the last man on earth, he died at the end of the movie, we can’t do it again’. But people weren’t in love with him as a character. It’s not Indiana Jones, like this kind of iconic character that you just want to see again and again and again.”
That didn’t stop a sequel idea being kicked around, that would have seen Smith’s character cloned and brought back to life.
Lawrence added that “it just felt forced to do a prequel, and that was basically, we would have been doing Contagion. And to do something that’s a follow-up either doesn’t have him in it, or you have to do something really dumb, which is, you know, ‘scientists have taken his DNA and reanimated him somehow!’ And that would have been really dumb, and so I just kind of bowed out.”
The project petered out not that long afterwards. The original film, just to make you feel young, celebrated its tenth birthday last Christmas…