|Dr. Robert Neville|
|Appearance||I Am Legend (film)|
|Status|| Deceased (Killed in M67 grenade explosion)|
Alive in alternate ending
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville was the main protagonist of I Am Legend. A military virologist, Neville spent three years in Manhattan searching for a cure to the Krippin Virus and sacrificed his life to protect the cure.
Before the helicopter carrying Zoe and Marley left, Marley gave Neville their puppy, Samantha, to look after. The helicopter then began to leave, but at that moment, another helicopter across the river, also leaving, was attacked by a horde of infected, causing it to crash into the other helicopter and kill Neville's family as he watched.
After Manhattan was quarantined and destroyed by KV, Neville spent the next three years with only Sam as a companion, and set up mannequins as patrons at the local video store to help Neville retain his sanity.
Neville's daily routine during this time included experimenting on infected rats in search of a cure to KV, and sending out a daily radio broadcast to any other immune survivors to meet him at the South Street Seaport at midday. During the day, Neville and Sam would hunt the deer that had migrated into New York, while at night, they would hide out in their secure apartment from the Darkseekers (infected).
On September 5th, 2012, Neville discovered that one of his cures had worked on one of the infected rat specimens, giving Neville hope.
At midday, when Neville was playing golf at the South Street Seaport while waiting for survivors, Sam spotted a deer, which she chased into a dark, derelict building. Fearfully, Neville followed Sam in, where the two were attacked and chased through the building by the Darkseeker colony residing within it. Two Darkseekers pounced onto Neville, but he was able to escape the building and into daylight by running through a window, the sunlight killing the attacking Darkseekers.
Shortly after, Neville set up a snare trap by a back door into the building, using a vial of his blood to draw out a female Darkseeker into the trap and capture her. An alpha male then attempted to rescue her, but was driven back by the sunlight.
Back at his home, Neville noted in his log the male Darkseeker's unusual behaviour, hypothesizing that the Darkseekers' social de-evolution was complete. Neville then tested his new serum on the captive Darkseeker, seemingly without success.The next day was Neville's birthday. As Neville was driving around Manhattan with Sam, he jokingly told Sam that Sam must tell him if she has prepared a birthday celebration for him as he hates surprises. All seems well until Neville notices "Fred", one of the video store mannequins, out on the street of the Grand Terminal Station. Confused and enraged, Neville demanded answers from "Fred" before shooting the mannequin with his Colt Law Enforcement Model 6920 Carbine. Neville then cautiously approached the mannequin, but after stepping in a puddle of water, he is caught in the same snare trap he used to capture the infected woman, and passed out.
When Neville awoke, it was already dusk and Sam was faithfully waiting for him. The alpha male Darkseeker from the building then emerged from the Grand Terminal Station and released three infected dogs on Sam and Neville, which were held back only by a thinning beam of sunlight. Eventually, the beam thinned enough for the infected dogs to cross and attack. Neville and Sam were able to fend off and eventually kill the dogs, but not before one mauled and infected Sam.
Neville rushed a weak Sam back to his home and attempted to save her using his new serum. Despite Neville's best attempts, Sam eventually succumbed to the virus and tried to maul Neville, forcing him to reluctantly strangle her, looking away and feeling heartbroken and filled with sadness and grief. Sam died shotly after and Neville was left alone and extremely upset.
The next day, as a sign of respect and love, a grieving Neville buried Sam in Central Park. Neville tried to stick to his routines, but his guilt and sadness over losing Sam and being all alone, and unable to talk to anyone, cause him to suffer a mental breakdown. Overcome with grief and rage, the next night, at the South Street Seaport, Neville used his SUV to attack a horde of Darkseekers, killing a large number of them in the process, as retribution for Sam and so as to commit suicide at their hands, no longer having a reason whatsoever to continue. The Darkseekers, led by the alpha male from the building and the Grand Terminal Station, managed to overwhelm Neville despite the heavy casualties, but before they could finish him off, survivors Anna and Ethan arrived to save Neville and return with him to his home.
Anna made Neville eggs for breakfast the next morning, but the latter, still stricken with grief over Sam's death, coldly rejected the two at first.
Once Neville was finally able to begin to overcome his grief and warm up to Anna and Ethan, Anna explained that she and Ethan were travelling to Bethel, Vermont in hopes of finding a colony of survivors there. She also revealed to Neville that she believed this was all part of God's plan. However, Neville was both skeptical that there was a refugee colony, and that there was a God, citing the billion deaths, caused by the Krippin Virus and the aftermath that has left 1% of the world population immune and 580,000,000 infected.
The following night, Neville discovered that it was still dark when Anna and Ethan escaped to Neville's home with him, allowing the Darkseekers to trace them back to there. As Neville realised this, a massive horde of Darkseekers, led by the alpha male, launched an attack on the house. Neville activated landmines and UV worklights in an attempt to repel the mob, but this only killed the first wave of Darkseekers and used up all of the defences against the second wave. Neville searched for Anna and Ethan, but as he did, a Darkseeker broke into the house and tore a hole in the ceiling, allowing more Darkseekers to enter the house.
After killing a Darkseeker threatening Anna and Ethan, the three retreated into a reinforced plexiglass room with the Darkseeker specimen, where they discovered that Neville's treatment was working and the woman was almost fully cured. However, as they realised that, the Darkseekers broke into the lab. Neville attempted to communicate with the Darkseekers and convince them that his cure could help them, but they ignored him as the alpha male began smashing through the plexiglass. Realising that the cure to KV was in the cured woman's blood, Neville drew a sample from her, gave it to Anna, and sealed her and Ethan in a coal chute in the back of the lab.
After looking at a photo of his wife and daughter and presumably thinking of his lost "girls" (Zoe, Marley and Sam), Neville picked up an M67 grenade and pulled the pin, ready to do what is necessary to protect Anna and Ethan, and the cure to the virus. Just as the alpha male broke through the plexiglass, Neville threw himself at him with the grenade, honorably sacrificing himself as the grenade detonated and created an explosion, which instantly killed Neville, the cured woman, the alpha male and what was left of the Darkseekers.
Ethan and Anna make it to the human colony in Bethel, Vermont and are seen handing over the cure to a military officer, thus restoring humanity and cementing Robert and his companion Sam as legends.
In the alternate ending, Neville's fate is different: when the Alpha Male Darkseeker was breaking through the plexiglass, he smeared a butterfly shape on it, and Neville realized that the alpha male was identifying the female by her butterfly tattoo, and wanted her back.
Neville returned the Darkseeker woman, realizing that his previous assumptions were wrong and that the Darkseekers did retain some of their humanity. Neville and the alpha male exchanged stares, with Neville apologizing, which the alpha male accepted.
The Darkseekers then left the house and Neville, Anna and Ethan drove away towards Vermont.
Dr. Robert Neville is a highly professional individual, who dedicated his entire time throughout the 3 years of world-wide plague to cure the Krippin Virus. He knew the possibility of a cure for the KV infection, and he thought that curing it is his true purpose. He was the head of the U.S military project to cure the KV infection while it was still active during the 2009 infection. When it went worldwide and eventually destroyed the rest of humanity, Neville continued to operate despite the possibility being little to almost none. He is a very organized person: he keeps his home fortified and stacked, he has strict daily routines and has a map showing how much he explored of the city. His watch is timed to beep at the time when the sun sets down.
His sanity is one of the key elements throughout the film: He dedicated his life to cure the KV, but due to constant failure in the last 3 years, his mental stability seems to have lowered down. He is tormented by frequent nightmares of the night in which his family has died, and his loneliness is one of the highlighted aspects in the film: his relationship with his dog, Sam, is a closest one (and the only one) he has in the film, running into an insecure, dark building full of Darkseekers to save her, and his daily conversations with her. One vital point that raises the question of his sanity is his conversations he holds with mannequins at a video store, where he interacts with the mannequins as they are genuine human beings, which show his personality as a kind, extrovert and outgoing person that he was before the KV spread.
Turning point of his sanity is when Darkseekers have set a trap for him using the mannequin as a bait: he managed to free himself, but when infected hounds attacked him, Sam tried to defend him but she was bitten by a hound and infected. Neville rushed her home and injected her with the Compound 6 in a desperate attempt to save her, but when she showed the early stages of the KV infection, he was forced to strangle her to death. Her death, and more specifically, at his own hands, caused him a severe mental breakdown, and even though he tried to go through his regular routines the next day (during which he buried Sam in Central Park), he went into a rage and angrily drove through the streets of New York at night, slamming and running down large numbers of Darkseekers until he crashed, attempting to commit suicide in Darkseeker's hands. However, he was saved by Anna and Ethan. He didn't show signs of recovery, still grieving over Sam's death and harshly responding to Anna's demands to go to Vermont to find a human colony (he reacted by throwing a plate at a kitchen cupboard and angrily yelling to her to shut up), and when Anna came later and told her that it was "God's plan", he gave her the statistics of progression of KV and then shouted that everyone they know is dead.
Despite the bad start, Neville eventually accepted and warmed up to Anna and Ethan; this is shown when Neville tells lines of "Shreck" which he memorized whilst Ethan is watching the said animation movie, when Neville picks up a sleeping Ethan and puts him to sleep in Marley's room, and when Neville tried to educate Anna on the music and messages of singer Bob Marley, of whom Neville was very fond of as he named his deceased daughter after the Jamaican singer and was particularly fond of his song "Everything's gonna be alright" which he was shown listening to while showering Sam and when he showed it to Anna.
In the end, Neville seemed to be at peace; he examined a photo of his family and honorably sacrificed himself to protect Anna and Ethan and the cure to restore humanity .
Neville's Washington Square home is heavily fortified. Every window, even those on the front door, have special iron curtains that can be locked to prevent the Darkseekers from coming in. His only weapons against the Darkseekers is a huge stack of military rifles in a closet near the front door, large UV reflectors on the roof, and claymore mines buried all over the house up to the street which can be activated by him in case of an emergency. He electrified the house using several Honda gasoline-powered engines as power generators, and has scavenged huge supplies of canned food throughout the house. He also hunts for deer and keeps them in the house.
It is seen that his house is actually his old family home, which he never left. He also keeps a supply of DVDs and recordings of news dating 2009: he watches them as he eats lunch, and he mostly kept recordings that showed the progression of the KV across the world, and also has a recording of Dr. Alice Krippin being interviewed before the KV mutated. He also has a treadmill and a pole, on which he has a daily workout session along with Sam. He also has a large stack of Bob Marley CDs and his iPod also contains Bob Marley songs, which he regularly plays and sings during the movie. In his office room, he has a Mac computer on which he records daily entries about his life through the last 3 years and also about several New York locations on which he has discovered a nest of Darkseekers, large supplies, etc.
The most interesting aspect of his home is his underground lab, on which he experiments with the KV in order to find the cure. He has a large cage containing 18 rats, on which he has injected 18 different compounds from the GA Series Serum 391. He has many medical instruments which he uses to draw his blood, which he attempts to use to create specific compounds to cure the rats. He also keeps medical records of all captured Darkseekers, which he hunts only when one of the rats show progress with a compound. He has a Mac computer with a portable web camera, during which he records daily testing and attaches the camera to his glasses to show the infected rats and Darkseekers. In the movie, from the 18 compounds tested, 7 compounds killed the host, 10 showed no effect, but a single one, Compound 6, showed progression. In his lab, he also has a special table for Darkseekers, which he chains up and injects with a large dosage of sedatives (in the movie, it is said that it's 6 times the normal human dosage), and then tests the promising compound on the Darkseeker. He usually keeps Darkseekers behind a plexiglass in case they break through the chains.
His house was invaded by Darkseekers when they discovered the location (since Anna didn't wait until dawn to enter the house, despite her claims). A giant horde of Darkseekers invaded the house. Although Neville used the reflectors and mines to destroy the first wave, he was defenseless against the second wave and they bursted through the house. His underground lab was destroyed by Neville himself when he used a hand grenade to kill the remaining Darkseekers.
- Robert Neville was portrayed by Will Smith.