Long-Belated "Constantine" and "I Am Legend" Sequels Teased by Producer
In a new expansive interview with Deadline, Akiva Goldsman teased a bunch of projects he was working on, though the two that really caught the attention of the Internet are the belated sequels to Goldsman's early successes Constantine (2005) and I Am Legend (2007). Check out his comments on both long-belated projects below:
Following the surprise announcement of a sequel to the 2005 film Constantine, Keanu Reeves spoke how he had been pushing for a sequel for years to the cult hit. Something that Goldsman attributes to the sequel getting greenlit saying "This is a credit to Keanu, who endlessly has said, ‘this is the character I want to return to. Finally, he said it enough times that it stuck.”
Granted, Constantine was nothing to brag about back in 2005. that was initially only a modest box office success ($230.9 million on a roughly $100 million budget) and currently holds a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, despite these factors and the way the film deviated from the source material, it has gained quite the following and that shows with this sequel's announcement, even to the point that a previous new show that was being worked on by J.J. Abrams about the character was cancelled in favor of this sequel. In fact, Abrams is apparently involved in Constantine 2 according to Goldsman teasing the early progress of the script:
"We’re doing it with JJ Abrams, and Francis and Keanu and I have been pretty deep in the story-breaking stage...The character is very much Keanu and the way he and Francis saw the world of good and evil, and the wonderful and authentic noir where there is a world behind the world of good and evil coexist with our world right up close. Beyond that, we are still discovering it as I am writing the script.”
At one point in all the failed attempts at rebooting the character (including the fan favorite series on CW that only lasted a season but saw that version continue on on Legends of Tomorrow), Reeves had teased a potential R-rated sequel that would see his titular character meeting Jesus. However, the story for this confirmed sequel has not been given. All we know is that Reeves and original director Francis Lawrence is returning. Speaking of Lawrence...
I Am Legend 2
Goldsman was quick to establish how original star Will Smith will return for the announced I Am Legend sequel which will see him team-up with Michael B. Jordan in an undisclosed role. The answer is simple and, for some fans, a relief. Essentially, Goldsman and Warner Bros. have chosen to establish the more popular alternate ending as canon. The original theatrical cut deviated from the original book by Richard Matheson by depicting the "vampires" (though they don't technically qualify as that in the 2007 film) as mindless creatures led by their hunger. The story ends with Smith's character Robert Neville sacrificing himself to allow his new friends (a woman played by Alice Braga and a young boy named Ethan) to escape with a cure for the disease that has destroyed the world and created these monsters. This ending was heavily criticized for not being in line with Matheson's book which saw Neville discover that the vampires were intelligent creatures and how Neville had become the monster of legend, hence the title.
The alternate ending for the 2007 film, featured on the Blu-Ray of the film, sees Neville confronted by the monsters and discovering the Alpha creature simply wants to get his mate back whom Neville has been using as a test subject for a potential cure. Once reunited, the Alpha and his followers leave while Neville leaves New York with his friends. It was this deviation from the source material that was heavily criticized. Despite this, the film made over $580 million on a $150 million budget and managed a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's unknown whether Francis Lawrence will return for this sequel like he is for Constantine 2.
In his interview with Deadline, Goldsman discusses this choice and how Matheson's book will guide a lot of choices in the upcoming sequel:
“We trace back to the original 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.”
In addition, unlike Constantine, Goldsman was able to tease a couple aspects of the sequel to I Am Legend , particularly how The Last of Us (not mentioning whether it was the games or the HBO show) is influencing the visuals a distant future:
“This will start a few decades later than the first. I’m obsessed with The Last of Us, where we see the world just post-apocalypse but also after a 20-30-year lapse. You see how the earth reclaims the world, and there’s something beautiful in the question of, as man steps away from being the primary tenant, what happens? That will be especially visual in New York. I don’t know if they’ll climb up to the empire state building, but the possibilities are endless.”
Here's hoping. Not sure we need another mindless zombie-style story in this day and age! Back then it was rare, now it would be highly derivative! So glad Goldsman took notes!
Neither project has a set release date or even a production start, but without a doubt Goldsman will be facing some pressure to get two cult hits the continuations fans feel they deserve. Stay tuned!