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How That Batman vs. Superman Easter Egg Wound Up in I Am Legend

Looking back on a prophetic moment in blockbuster history.

By Matthew Jackson
I am Legend

I Am Legend is a lot of things. It's an adaptation of a beloved story from horror legend Richard Matheson, a thoroughly entertaining star vehicle for Will Smith, and of course a post-apocalyptic adventure that's still popular enough to merit development of a sequel. For some fans, though, the 2007 film will forever be home to one of the most fascinating Easter eggs in blockbuster history. 

As you've no doubt noticed somewhere on the web, even if you've never seen the movie, I Am Legend features a poster for a fictional Batman/Superman team-up movie, nearly a decade before the two heroes would actually meet on the big-screen for the first time in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The moment comes while Robert Neville (Smith) is wandering a cleared-out Manhattan, looking at what remains of the society demolished by an outbreak a few years earlier. It's an amusing nod to the fictional world of the film and how it differs from our own, but it's also a nod to Warner Bros. development history, as well as an omen of what was to come.

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How The Batman vs. Superman Easter Egg Landed in I Am Legend

So, how did the Easter egg come to be? Speaking to Collider back in 2014 while promoting The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, director Francis Lawrence explained that the poster was created because I Am Legend writer and producer Akiva Goldsman had previously worked on a draft of a Batman/Superman movie that Warner Bros. never made.

The project was one of several major revamps of the Batman and Superman characters considered by Warner Bros. back in the days following Batman & Robin's theatrical release, when neither hero had a big-screen presence and both were still waiting for a resurgence. Those resurgences eventually came in the form of solo films -- Batman Begins in 2005 and Superman Returns in 2006 -- and so that incarnation of the team-up movie never happened. When considering background gags for their version of Manhattan, though, Lawrence and Goldsman thought it would be fun to imagine a world in which the film had actually been made. 

Little did they know, of course, that just a few years later, after the box office success of Man of Steel, Warner Bros. would in fact greenlight a Batman v Superman showdown courtesy of director Zack Snyder. In the years following that film's announcement, the I Am Legend Easter egg became a fan-favorite moment of prophecy, which is especially fun considering that, according to Lawrence, he and Goldsman never actually got permission to include the logo in the film. 

Oh, and for an added dose of Easter egg fun, pay particular attention to Barry Allen's bedroom in the multiverse-spanning The Flash movie. You'll notice an I Am Legend poster on the wall. 

How to Watch I Am Legend

I Am Legend is now streaming on the SYFY Movies Hub and airing on SYFY Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.