Some franchises are a testament to their leading character, and none more so than Die Hard. Featuring John McClane, one of the toughest movie cops in film history, the Die Hard franchise continues to roll on and on, much like its reluctant hero. It seems the franchise isn’t done, either, with Len Wiseman entering negotiations to direct Die Hard 6.
Deadline revealed that Wiseman, who directed Die Hard 4, aka Live Free or Die Hard, will return alongside producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. The duo are currently searching for a screenwriter for the project, tentatively titled Die Hard Year One, but don’t expect them to be waiting for too long. According to the report, many screenwriters are baying to write for the Die Hard franchise, which, since its debut in 1988, is still immensely popular.
If all goes to plan, Bruce Willis is set to return for the sixth outing in what is described as a half sequel and half prequel. Willis will return as the present-day McClane, while a new actor will portray a younger version of the hard-to-kill copper in an alternative timeline. Utilising a plot device made famous by films like The Godfather Part II, this could be an interesting way to not only continue the franchise, but also hand the torch to a younger actor, someone who could continue the adventures of a more inexperienced John McClane for a newer generation.
No other casting details have been announced yet, and major plot details are yet to be confirmed, but fans had mixed opinions on the previous two installments, which brought lukewarm box-office performance and reviews alike. The introduction of McClane’s grown up children was also met with indifference — both were central to the plot in their respective appearances.
Whether Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Lucy McClane) or Jai Courtney (John McClane Jr) will return remains to be seen, but with the franchise capable of attracting young, emerging talent, it can only be seen as a promising aspect for the sixth installment. Since their appearances in the franchise, both have gone on to become A-list stars — Courtney recently starred in Terminator Genisys and Divergent, whilst Winstead featured in Final Destination, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The Thing.
Wiseman would be a wise choice to continue the franchise. The fourth feature, the first in 12 years, made $383 million at the box-office and received some decent praise. Featuring Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Justin Long, and a cameo from Kevin Smith, the film was enjoyable and entertaining — essential ingredients for a Die Hard movie. If the sequel becomes an origin story, it may draw inspiration from the comic book prequel published by BOOM! Studios in 2010. The story featured McClane as a rookie cop working the New York streets in the 1970s. As we all know by now, McClane never has an easy life, something that becomes apparent in the comic. Whether this transitions into the script, only time will tell, but it makes for an interesting sequel, one that could convince fans that a sixth installment is worth the investment.
Die Hard (1988) was a box-office smash on its release, and turned Bruce Willis from a TV actor into a global superstar. The simplicity of the one cop vs. thirty terrorists plot became riveting movie lore in the ’80s, something made famous by Willis, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Die Hard 2 (1990) would further cement Willis’ status as an action hero, and moved a similar plot from a corporate tower to an airport. Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995) returns a down and out, borderline-alcoholic McClane to New York, where he must face Simon, a terrorist intent on destroying the city via a twisted version of “Simon Says.”
In Live Free or Die Hard (2007), the series was given a modern reboot, bringing a cranky, technophobe McClane into a modern, computer dependent setting. His brush with cyber-terrorists was a relevant storyline, one that tapped into modern insecurities and acts of cyber-vandalism. A Good Day To Die Hard (2013) wasn’t a fan favorite, however. McClane would travel to Russia to track down his missing son who, unknown to his father, is currently undercover on protection detail for a Russian government operative.
The franchise has grossed $1.4 billion on a total budget of $390 million. Regardless of mixed reviews or opinions, and with such a lucrative cash cow in their hands, many doubt Fox will let John McClane hang up his dirty white vest any time soon.
[Images — 20th Century Fox and Getty Images/Evan Agostini]