Warner Bros Want Will Smith For I Am Legend 2 Despite His Character Being Dead

How do you solve a problem of bringing back a character from the dead?

So do you remember four and a bit years ago when the post-apocalyptic blockbuster I Am Legend made an incredible $584 million for Warner Bros, who were so bewilderingly pleased with how the film performed that they went ahead and announced a sequel to star Will Smith? But there was a problem they forgot.... Will Smith's character Robert Neville died in the original and the few screenwriters they have hired in the intervening years, such as Game of Thrones' D.B. Weiss, could never figure out how to bring the character back from the dead that made sense. It was a huge shame for Warner Bros because the original was a gold mine, they had a concept that could have spawned a franchise, and Will Smith enjoyed being in a movie where the whole attention was on him, a proper starring vehicle if there ever was one, and he talked glowingly about wanting to make another film. Even more tragic was that the original, more emotional and mature ending actually had Will Smith survive the movie, making a sequel much easier; Anyway we had thought that ugly idea had been itself obliterated years ago but no, Deadline reports that Warner Bros have closed a deal with Akiva Goldsman and Will Smith's Overbook Entertainment to produce a follow-up to the film that WB hope will see Will Smith reprising his role as the last man on Earth after a man-made virus wiped out the population, and leaving some like vampific mutants out for your blood. Well actually he ain't quite the last man on Earth as they find a colony outside of New York right at the finale, when Smith has already croaked it. Arash Amel is now writing the screenplay and Will Smith is willing to read it when completed, before deciding on whether he wants to do it. I don't particularly envy Amel's task to write a screenplay that somehow has Robert Neville as the main character and isn't just totally insane and one that sounds more pleasing to Smith than Independence Day 2, Bad Boys 3, I Robot 2, Hancock 2 and all the other sequels rival studios are desperate to get the biggest movie star on the plane to commit to making. Amel is the writer behind Grace of Monaco, that Grace Kelly biopic that is a go project from La Vie En Rose director Olivier Dahn. No word yet if I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence would be back. I'm guessing when all is said and done the movie ends up being a prequel. It is the only way, unless Will Smith's zapper memory thing works on audiences everywhere when Men in Black 3 opens this summer. Maybe Warner Bros will decide to just not answer the problem of Will Smith's character's death. MAYBE (and I'm not sure this is the wisest decision) but MAYBE they will release another Blu-ray calling it the FINAL EDITION which actually has the original ending forced into the cut and they tell people they made a mistake and that's how the film should have ended, doing a George Lucas bit of engineering... and then as if magic... Will Smith's character is back for the sequel without raising eyebrows. Yeah, that one would be tough to get over wouldn't it?
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.