2007’s I Am Legend is an end-of-the-world movie about Robert Neville (played by Will Smith), an army virologist living in New York City during the outbreak of a fast-spreading virus that eventually wipes out most of civilization and leaves aggressive, zombie-like “darkseekers” behind. In the post-apocalyptic aftermath, Robert Neville continues living in the now desolate city working to survive and hoping to one day cure the virus in his basement lab.
The movie is based on the horror novel of the same name. When I Am Legend came out, one of the main criticisms was that the movie differed from the novel. While the movie was successful, critics felt that the film’s ending didn’t do justice to the book.
The film’s original ending shows Robert Neville capturing a female darkseeker to test his antidote on. Later on, he meets fellow survivors Anna and Ethan and brings them back to the safety of his home. That night, they are attacked by darkseekers and hid in Neville’s basement lab. Neville saves their life by giving them a vial of the female darkseeker’s blood and sacrificing himself to destroy the attacking darkseekers so that Anna and Ethan can escape with the cure and head to a survivor’s camp in Vermont.
In the alternate ending, Robert Neville realizes that the darkseekers are seeking out the female darkseeker in his lab because she is the partner of their alpha. He releases her and all the darkseekers leave peacefully. Neville realizes that the darkseekers are sentient and leaves with Anna and Ethan. They all head to the survivor’s camp in Vermont together.
Here’s the scene from the director’s cut:
It’s not as flashy as sacrificing your life and finding an antidote, but I like this ending better. It’s more mysterious and creepy to think about needing to make a new life alongside the darkseekers instead of just eviscerating them.