EXCLUSIVE: 'I Am Legend Prequel' Is Dead, Says Francis Lawrence

Will Smith, one of very few human survivors of a vampire viral outbreak that swept the world, struggling to salvage his sanity while working tirelessly to find a cure to bring mankind back from the brink… yeah, he is "Legend," alright. Or was, at least. We've heard for some time now that a prequel to Smith and director Francis Lawrence's "I Am Legend" was in the works, but the trail has gone cold in recent months and years. And there's a reason for that: the project is dead.

At the press junket for "Water for Elephants" last month, we spoke with Lawrence and he confirmed our suspicions that, yes, the "I Am Legend" prequel is off the table, at least as far as his involvement goes: "No, I don't think that's ever going to happen."

Honestly, it's not a surprising development. From the get go, an "I Am Legend" prequel starring Smith always sounded a bit dubious. (Put your spoiler hats on for this next part, folks.) If you've seen the movie, then you know that while Smith's scientist character Doctor Robert Neville figures out how to treat the vampire virus, he sacrifices his life to kill a pack of blood-suckers and save a woman and child, now in possession of Neville's cure.

With one of the main plot developments resolved by the end of "Legend," it always felt that a sequel to see how that cure evolved, how it could be implemented (if at all), was a more interesting route to take… but with Smith's character blown to smithereens, moving backward was the only way to keep him involved with the franchise. This didn't always have to be the case, of course — an alternate ending sees Smith surviving the climactic showdown with the vampires, a conclusion that's not only arguably better than the final cut's version, but more conducive for a natural, Smith-led sequel.

As it stands, looks like the "Legend" is over for now, at least from Lawrence's perspective.

What do you think? Disappointed that the "I Am Legend" prequel has been shelved, or do you think it's for the best? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!