With a nearly $600 million worldwide total and a famous star at its core, it would seem like a no-brainer to give audiences another installment in the I Am Legend franchise. After ten years and no official movement on either a sequel or a prequel, director Francis Lawrence recently shared he had no interest in creating another chapter in the Will Smith-starring sci-fi thriller, with any attempts clearly being financially motivated.
“[The studio] was really, really, really into coming up with something, and I just didn’t know how to do it,” the filmmaker shared with the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “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."
Bringing Smith back for a sequel would obviously be an impossibility, but Lawrence also shared he had no interest in developing a film set before I Am Legend as it would have been too similar to a variety of other films.
“And it just felt forced to do a prequel,” Lawrence admitted. "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.”
This is only the most recent instance of the filmmaker being candid, as he also recently shared how he wished he kept the story's original ending.
Lawrence's original ending for the film involved Smith's character realizing that the monsters which plagued the city following the death of all other humans had their sentience, but audiences didn't approve of the character realizing
“I agree it’s the better ending. I mean, it’s the more philosophical version of the end, but in terms of story math we’re doing everything you’re not supposed to do, right?" the filmmaker explained to ScreenRant of his initial idea. "The hero doesn’t find the cure, right? They drive off into the unknown and the creatures you’ve been saying are the bad ones the whole time you learn actually have humanity and aren’t the bad ones – the hero’s the bad one. And so you’ve basically turned everything on its head. We tested it twice and it got wildly rejected, wildly rejected, which is why we came out with the other one.”
There are currently no announced plans for the continuation of the series.
[H/T Happy Sad Confused]