Back in 2008, Warner Bros. began work on an I Am Legend Prequel, bringing back the team of star Will Smith and director Francis Lawrence which brought in a worldwide gross of $584 million the first time around. The film would chronicle the final days of humanity in New York before a man-made virus caused a plague that left Smith’s character the lone survivor among a mutated mob in the city.
Word on the film had been non-existent until today, when an interview with Lawrence revealed that he is no longer involved and that he doesn’t “think [it’s] ever going to happen.”
The news isn’t particularly surprising, as the idea of a prequel featuring the outbreak of the virus didn’t really catch many people’s interest. Considering what direction the film’s theatrical ending would’ve taken the franchise, I can understand from a financial standpoint why they would go for a prequel. This late in the game, it would be confusing to general audiences to go bill the (much better) alternate ending as a jumping off point for a sequel, plus there would be no way to intelligently incorporate Smith as the lead.
The prequel could, of course, be revisited later on by a different director / creative team but for now, consider it dead.