Will Smith is set to return for the I Am Legend sequel alongside Michael B. Jordan, which avoids the classic Will Smith sequel mistake.
I Am Legend 2 is avoiding a big Will Smith sequel mistake, and it’s all the better for it. Will Smith doesn’t return to every movie sequel, but surprisingly, he is for this one. On top of that, I Am Legend 2 will pair Smith up with Michael B. Jordan for the first time. In doing so, it will hopefully avoid a problem that has plagued sequels to Will Smith blockbusters.
Smith and Jordan will both serve as producers on the film, meaning they will have a certain amount of say in how the film is made. This is a smart move for the sequel to 2007’s original I Am Legend as the pair’s movies have made over $12 billion at the box office combined. It would have been easy for Will Smith not to return to the sequel and pass on the torch to someone new, given the alternate ending to I Am Legend, but the fact he is – and with Michael B. Jordan no less – makes it much more exciting.
The main issue with Will Smith sequels arrives when he isn’t in them. The box office falls, and in some cases, so does the quality of the film. Take Independence Day: Resurgence as an example. It wasn’t received well upon release, and while it does have its fans, the box office fell dramatically from the first film. Men In Black: International followed a similar path to Resurgence. Will Smith returned for both original sequels, but the spin-off starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson came out with the lowest box office total of the franchise. James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad was a box office disappointment and another sequel for which Smith didn’t return. It was released in 2021, with some cast members returning from the 2016 original, bar Smith. Even though David Ayer’s original Suicide Squad managed to pull over $700 million at the box office, the sequel couldn’t break $200 million. There are undoubtedly more factors at play than just the absence of Will Smith, such as Covid, but it surely plays a part.
Will I Am Legend 2 Be A Success?
It is no guarantee that just because Will Smith is returning for I Am Legend 2 that it will be a success, but it is a good sign. 2020’s Bad Boys For Life reunited Will Smith and Martin Lawrence after more than 15 years since their last Bad Boys outing. Though theaters were not open for the entirety of the year, Bad Boys For Life was 2020’s highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office that year. Another third film in a trilogy that took a while to get made was Men In Black 3, which also did well for Smith.
I Am Legend 2 is avoiding one huge Will Smith sequel mistake by bringing him back to star, but it doesn’t mean the film will automatically make $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Still, the addition of Will Smith and his enormous on-screen charisma is fixing a problem that most sequels to his films lack. If the track record of sequels he’s in versus the ones he skips is anything to go by, paired with the addition of Michael B. Jordan, it looks like the zombie sequel is starting off on the right foot.