By explaining its “zombies.” the upcoming I Am Legend 2 can finally clear up one of its predecessor’s most common sources of confusion. After 15 years, the long-awaited I Am Legend sequel is finally in the works, with Will Smith returning and franchise newcomer Michael B. Jordan set to star in and executive produce. A sequel is an ideal opportunity to address issues raised in I Am Legend, such as who the Darkseekers, the franchise’s ostensible antagonists, are.
The Darkseekers of I Am Legends were created after a cancer vaccine turned into a virus that killed 90% of infected people worldwide. One percent of those infected were immune, similar to Will Smith’s Neville in I Am Legend, but the remaining 9 percent were transformed into Darkseekers. It’s easy to mistake Darkseekers for zombies, given their appearance and origins: they’re not particularly bright, have inhuman abilities, and eat human flesh. The Darkseekers’ aversion to sunlight, on the other hand, distinguishes them as a type of vampiric creature — and gives them their name — as they react to UV light similarly to traditional vampires.
I Am Legend 2 gives the franchise a chance to clear up the mystery surrounding the Darkseekers and move away from I Am Legend’s zombie reputation. The original ending of I Am Legend revealed that the Darkseekers were actually a more advanced race than previously thought, capable of feeling complex emotions and forming social hierarchies. Zombies aren’t known for their intelligence, so if I Am Legend 2 embraces this ending, the investigation of the Darkseekers’ intelligence could help distinguish the Darkseekers from more common movie zombies. The Darkseekers are never explained in detail in I Am Legend.
I Am Legend 2 could look to its source material for answers to the Darkseeker mystery. I Am Legend, based on Richard Matheson’s book of the same name, delves deeper into the Darkseekers, bringing them much closer to the traditional vampire. As a result, I Am Legend 2 could use more lore from the novel to distinguish between I Am Legend’s Darkseekers and regular zombies, such as their advanced intelligence and speech capability. Leaning into the idea that the Darkseekers are the novel’s next evolutionary step, the time between the two films could allow the creatures to evolve into the entirely new race that Matheson imagined.