Why ‘After Earth’ is actually an alternate continuation of ‘I Am Legend’

Will Smith has a new film coming out in a week, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, called After Earth. Its story is set 1000 years in the future, where humanity has moved out of the Blue Planet because the Apocalypse happened and have developed supercool spaceships with the scraps they took with them, and its about a father and son (Smith and his son Jaden, because we haven’t seen enough of that kid already) who crash land on Earth during a routine mission and have to find a way to survive. Though it does have some good talent attached, I’m quite wary of it thanks to another post-apocalyptic summer film released a couple of months ago with similar talent called Oblivion, but needless to say I’ll be watching it.

But what’s more interesting is what After Earth brings to mind: another post-apocalyptic movie starring Will Smith that was released in 2007 that I’m sure you’ve heard of called I Am Legend. In that film, Smith plays Dr. Robert Neville, a man stuck in an abandoned New York City in 2012 as he tries to find a cure for a virus that’s infected most of humanity and turned them into a hybrid of vampires and the zombies from 28 Days Later. The ending SPOILER ALERT doesn’t bode well for Smith when he sacrifices himself for the greater good of humanity by saving a mother and child, so that they can go to a military base in Vermont, with a cure that he discovered five minutes prior to blowing himself up, and live happily ever after (which they did). SPOILER ENDS

So how are these two movies connected, you ask? Well, it seems that several alternate scenes were shot for I Am Legend, the most important of which was an alternate ending (something that’s a given these days that shows up in the Blu-Ray and DVD, there’s even one I saw recently for Iron Man 2, pre-digital effects). ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT In this ending, Smith cheats death and takes his cure to the Vermont military base, and he lived happily ever after. END SPOILER

Let’s go along with the universe where the alternate ending exists. If Star Trek could do it (albeit with an actual reason), so can Will Smith, international superstar. Neville lives to see another day.

But what if having the cure doesn’t mean that he lived happily ever after? What if the zombies actually grew immune to that cure and then came close to wiping the survivors out altogether, and the only resort that mankind had was to ditch Earth once and for all and start afresh in the stars?

Such a possibility sounds far fetched (and it is), but when you think about it, its not impossible. Maybe the governments of the world had a Master Reboot button a la 2012, where instead of a big boat, they used a big spaceship and flew the hell out of there. Or they did it gradually and finally transported the last humans, like in Wall-E, in a grand exodus, thanks to corporate help.

In this alternate universe, 1000 years later, mankind has decided to screw coming back to Earth because its too dangerous and Earth has become foreign to humanity. Also, Smith’s Dr. Neville has passed on, and generation after generation of the Nevilles continue in this new existence while orbiting Earth. The Neville namesake eventually morphs into the Raige family, and Cypher Raige (Smith in After Earth) is actually a descendant of Neville, which also means that he carries traces of Neville’s guilt from not being able to save his planet. Presumably this emerges more strongly in his son Kitai, who persuades his dad to take him to Earth, where After Earth‘s journey begins.

Talk about a long delayed alternate sequel, 1000 years in the making.

Attributions: After earth logo.png by Sony Pictures, PD-US
Will Smith 2011, 3.jpg by Truu, CC-BY-2.0

Lifecycle of a WordPress Blogger

1. You’re walking on the street, minding your own business, one half conscious of your surroundings, the other following weird trains of thought. And then suddenly you get an idea for a great blog post. You started thinking about that, and a feeling of satisfaction hits your brain.

2. You’re back home, you start up the computer and start typing away. Forget finesse, this is typed up in a mad frenzy, mostly because you’re glad you got the idea because your blog’s been inactive for quite a while. You don’t remember the last time you posted, but that doesn’t matter, you get back into the groove of things.

3. The post is done in its first and final draft. Forget rewriting, you wrote from your heart and you want to get that post out there already! You click ‘Publish’.

4. And then you close the tab and go to Facebook, as if you were uninterested in whether the post gets any responses or not. Five minutes later, the suspense is killing you, and you go back to the Reader. You stare at the blue header line, at the ‘Comments’ icon that’s still blue and white. And then suddenly, it morphs into an orange box with a white star! 1 Like, good for you! You check your Stats, and you’ve got 3 views! Nice!

5. You close the tab again and check your email, where the notification from WordPress is waiting for you. You’re pretty pleased with yourself.

6. The next 24 hours are spent constantly checking those Stats. You want to see if your post is THAT good, which it turns out to be, because you’re followed by two bloggers.

7. Now, once the views have plateaued, you need a new blog post to sustain the new interest in your site. Another 24 hours goes in thinking. But what could it be? None of the ideas you get stand up to the last one you had, and they’re all pretty boring, or they require intense research, something you’re not prepared to do.

8. A week goes by in creative procrastination. No more ‘Likes’ or ‘Comments’ for the old post now. And nothing new yet. You’re desperate, but that only makes things even more difficult. You’re a perfectionist, you can’t just make a haphazard random post for your followers! And so you wait for the right idea…and wait…and wait…

9. A month later, a new idea. And the cycle starts all over again.

How to Write An Immortal Book

First, write a decent novel that you can be moderately proud of and which some people will buy. Next, write another book, but keep it as an unedited manuscript, and don’t even tell your editor about it. Then commit suicide, but make it look like it happened because of “unexplained circumstances”. Eventually your editor will find the unedited manuscript and it will be an instant success because your life would have been dissected for clues as to why you did what you did and your first novel will be dissected to hint at your suicide. Either way, you win, and your name will become immortal.