Tom Cruise doesn’t exactly star in a lot of box office bombs, and Ridley Scott very rarely delivers a movie that could definitively be labeled as a missed opportunity, but the two were at very different places in their careers when Legend arrived in 1985.
The fast-rising youngster was on his way up the industry ladder after headlining hits Risky Business and All the Right Moves, but he wasn’t truly a household name quite yet. At the other end of the spectrum, Scott was under immense pressure to deliver after his previous two features yielded back-to-back classics Alien and Blade Runner.
Unfortunately, Legend ended up tanking in theaters after failing to recoup its $24 million budget from theaters, while reviews could generously be described as lukewarm. Sure, the production design and visual effects were lauded by almost everyone, but it was the narrative deficiencies that prevented the fantasy blockbuster from maximizing its own potential.
If there’s one thing even the harshest of naysayers can agree on, though, it’s Tim Curry’s wondrously hammy turn as the Prince of Darkness, which saw the actor buried under a mountain of prosthetics to steal the show. Looking back, the villain hinted he would return after being vanquished, as do at least one of the three alternate endings, so we may have been robbed of further adventures.
There was definitely potential for the immersive world of Legend to be revisited in future sequels and/or spinoffs, but the unheralded cult gem didn’t find an audience until it was way too late. In fact, Redditors have even been lamenting the unrealized potential that an extended universe could have bestowed upon the fandom, and salient points are being made.
Then again, Top Gun was released only a year after Legend, and we all know how that turned out when Cruise returned for Maverick…