Smith told an In Conversation at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival on Saturday evening that the script for the film had just arrived.
“I have a call with Michael B. Jordan tomorrow,” the Oscar-winning actor said. “We’re really close. I am probably giving up too much information…the script just came in,” he said.
The original was a box office smash, grossing $585.4 million against a budget of $150 million. While a sequel might make financial sense, it comes with a narrative hurdle as Smith’s character, Dr Robert Neville, died at the end of the first film.
But Hollywood has never been afraid to let the plot stand in the way of a sequel and writer Akiva Goldsman has reportedly found a creative way out of a certain dead end.
Referencing the death of his character, Smith said to the crowd: “We’re going with the mythology of the DVD version where my character lives and I can’t tell you anymore.”
Here is all we know about I Am Legend 2 so far.
What is I Am Legend?
In 2007, I Am Legend continued Smith’s seemingly unstoppable run at the box office with his turn as Dr Neville. Much of the film sees him wander the deserted streets of post-apocalypse New York City with only his dog for company.
Francis Lawrence directed the adaptation of the book I Am Legend by Richard Matheson and also took inspiration from a previous film adaptation of the novel; The Omega Man. Dr Neville experiments on infected rats to try to find a cure for a virus that has wiped out 99 per cent of the world’s population.
How did I Am Legend end?
The film finishes with Dr Neville sacrificing himself to allow his friends, a woman and her son, to escape New York to a haven in Vermont. However, the 2008 DVD release contains an alternative ending that more closely follows the novel. In this universe, Dr Neville reaches a truce with the infected who were about to kill him and leaves the city with his friends and fellow survivors.
What has been announced?
Akiva Goldsman, who wrote the screenplay for the first film, has signed on for the sequel in a deal with Warner Brothers, which also distributed the original. He is also working on Constantine 2 for Warner Brothers with Keanu Reeves.
It has also been announced that Smith and Michael B Jordan are attached.
Smith said: "The idea came up. I can’t talk about it yet. But it’s a really, really cool concept and [Michael B Jordan] was a part of creating the idea. It was one of those I was gonna leave alone, and then I heard the idea. But that might work, I think we can do that.”
What details are there about the plot?
Goldsman has said the plot will pick up where the DVD alternative ending left off.
He said: “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. There will be a little more fidelity to the original text.”
The original film was set in 2012, but Goldsman said the sequel picks up “a few decades” after the first.
Who will direct and who else will star in I Am Legend 2?
It has not been confirmed if the original director, Francis Lawrence, will also direct the new film.
The film will be Jordan’s first collaboration with Smith. It has not been said how he will fit into it or what relation his character will have to Dr Neville.
When will I Am Legend 2 be released?
An official release date is yet to be confirmed. There is also not yet a trailer.
Where can I watch it?
I Am Legend 2 seems ripe for a cinema release and, with Warner Brothers behind the project, it could eventually end up on HBO Max or its own streaming platform.
The first I Am Legend is available to rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Apple TV or Vudu but is not included on a streaming service.