I Am Legend Alternate Ending

Monday, August 8 by Raina Lorring

Get the scoop on the “I am Legend” alternate ending. “I am Legend” is a 2007 film based on the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson. The movie stars Will Smith and was directed by Francis Lawrence. Two earlier films based on the book were released, which includes “The Last Man on Earth” (1964) and “The Omega Man” (1971). Although all three movies are based on the same book, there are many differences in their story lines. The movie “I am Legend” went through many different storyline edits.

The movie “I am Legend” is the story of military virologist Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville (Will Smith). In 2009 a genetically-engineered variant of the measles virus (Named the Krippen Virus.), which originally was hoped to be a cure for cancer, mutates into a lethal strain. The Krippen Virus kills 90% of humanity. The movie takes on in September 2012, where Neville is the last human in New York City. Of the 10% of the population that wasn't killed by the Krippen Virus 12 million were immune while the rest turned into bald, pale and very aggressive “Darkseekers.”. These living but infected people hunted the immune humans and were named because of their inability to stand light. The Darkeekers have increased speed, agility and strength. The movie spends a lot of time detailing Neville's daily routine of surviving and trying to find a cure. Later he moves on from experimenting on rats to capturing Darkseekers to attempt to save them.

His only companion is his German Shepherded named Samantha or Sam. She is the lat member of his family that was killed before the virus spread. Sam is killed after a run in with the Darkseekers and an enraged Neville goes on a suicide mission with his SUV to take as many of them with him as he can. Then Neville is saved by an immune woman named Anna (Alice Braga) and a young boy named Ethan (Charlie Tahan). Anna and Ethan are trying to get to a rumored surviver camp but that night an alpha male Darkeeker leaders a charge against Neville. The Darkseeker woman Neville had injected with what he hopes to be the cure is showing signs of improvement.

In the theatrical version Neville gives Anna the cure, before putting her and Ethan in a crawl space to keep them safe. The Darkseekers are after him because of what he's done and he sacrifices himself to keep the cure safe. Then the scene cuts to Anna and Ethan making it to safety with the cure. The movie ends by saying Neville sacrificed himself to save humanity and he became out legend. Many fans of Matheson's work hated this ending that was not true to the original work. It also changed the initial point of the story and made it very much like other post-apolitical stories.

The alternate ending of “I am Legend” was shot before the theatrical version. It is also a lot more true to the books. In the ending Neville realizes that the Darkseekers do not want to be cured. In a startling revelation he understands that the creatures that he had killed as if they were mindless monsters were the new face of humanity. He gives the Darkseeker woman back the alpha Darkseeker and they allow him to live. The final shot shows Neville, Anna and Ethan driving out of the city. This ending keeps true to Matheson's original intent for the title because Neville becomes a bogeyman to the Darkseekers, their legend. This ending has a unique perspective, as it shows that a hero to some turns out to be a villain to others. The alternate ending was scraped after test audience's showed a dislike for the scene. Other scenes were significantly altered a well. The Alternate ending of “I am Legend” is included on the bonus features of the DVD.

– Raina Lorring