Second adaptation of the work will get a sequel
Among the films released in the 2000s, few have the fame and nostalgia that I’m the Legend can brag. The plot starring Will Smith brought a scientist living his day to day in the company of his German shepherd, in a Manhattan ravaged by a virus. The plot conflict arises from the fact that he is not alone in the city.
Those who were affected by the contamination became beings sensitive to sunlight, condemned to live in dark areas around the city until nightfall. Despite presenting dated special effects regarding these antagonists, the production design of became iconic, in a way, by the very real simulation of places like Times Square completely abandoned.
Everything represented in a believable way, until you get to the core of the infected. Now, a sequel appears to be in the early stages, bringing Michael B. Jordan highlighted but also waving to a possible return of Will Smith. The plot is inspired by the 1954 book of the same name, written by Richard Matheson and that it had already received a previous adaptation in two situations, one in 1964 and another in 1971.
Each of the versions, in its own way, kept the essence of the original work alive, even granting interpretations that best fit the general proposal of each period. For example, the 1964 film starring Vincent Price had a visible identification with the science fiction horror proposed in the previous decade, as The Day the Earth Stood Still e Soul Vampires.
As far as the base book is concerned, much of the plot remains the same, especially focusing on the loneliness that the protagonist has to deal with on a daily basis. Victims of the virus had their bodies modified to the point that they became inseparable from vampires, since they also feed on blood and carry all the traditional limitations of the monster.
However, the context in which the story was conceived was different. The 1950s are seen as ground zero for what is considered to be contemporary science fiction (excluding earlier classic works by Julius Verne) largely because they were conceived under the political turmoil of the Cold War, consequently of the atomic fear, allied to the accelerated social changes in the West.
Often these stories fantasized about a highly technological future in which the concept of family, as socially accepted, was kept intact. Set in Los Angeles in the then distant year of 1976, the plot also follows Dr. Neville in which he is the last survivor of the deadly pandemic that has ravaged humanity.
Already in the premise, the subversion of a common theme in science fiction of the time, which is science, is remarkable, here not being the passport to a utopian future but the reason for chaos. Another important detail is the presence of the infected, in this case the vampires.
Unlike the 2007 version, where these individuals were portrayed as a mostly brute force with shallow bursts of conscience, in both the base book and the 1971 film, vampires are given a considerable amount of time to demonstrate that they are thinking, mind-aware beings. world that surrounds them.
With that, the dynamic that forms between Neville and the vampires assumes contours of mutual hatred; much because the immunized person considers them a threat to his safety while the modified ones have in Neville a memory of the past, this being marked by the whole issue of the turmoil of the Cold War; from the chaotic world and the imperfections of their former lives in general.
Mutant vampires are a community that the protagonist tends not to understand, does not seek to understand and, because he does not understand them as a culture, he hates them, driven above all by fear. This is the main feeling that guides Neville’s actions and that Richard Matheson tries to convey as being present on both sides of the confrontation.
A few years later, the then young filmmaker George Romero was inspired by the themes present in I’m the Legend to compose your classic Night of the Living Deada film mainly responsible for building the modern idea of hordes of zombies surrounding the cast of survivors.
Although the 2007 version did not adopt much of the themes discussed in the original work, it was still a product adapted for its time (the pandemic begins with the creation of an innovative treatment against cancer) and reinforced the timeless appeal established by the writing. in Matheson.
The possible sequel, therefore, has in its hands the possibility of approaching the new post-pandemic society in a more incisive way, exploring the relationship of the infected and, above all, how they see the survivors as folkloric figures that send them negative feelings.