‘Die Hard 6’: What Bruce Willis Prequel Could Learn From ‘Boardwalk Empire’

Die Hard 6, which probably won’t be the final name, is a go, and the word around Tinseltown is that it will involve Bruce Willis but will also be “a prequel of sorts.”

(Say what?)

Yes, Deadline reports that Live Free Or Die Hard director Len Wiseman will helm this sixth entry in the series, and that he plans on delving into the 1970s when John McClane first joined the force as a beat cop.

Die Hard 6 will obviously require a younger actor to play McClane, but it will not cut Willis out of the proceedings either. Just how can Wiseman pull this off?

Your guess is as good as anyone else’s, but here’s a suggestion that worked incredibly well for the final season of Boardwalk Empire.

Tell parallel stories involving old John McClane and young John McClane and make sure those stories line up at the end.

Before venturing any further, let this be your warning. The paragraphs ahead will discuss significant spoilers for the Boardwalk Empire series, but it’s necessary to show how the same device could be effectively used for Die Hard 6.

If you plan to one day watch Boardwalk Empire, get out now while you still can.


The Steve Buscemi-starring HBO series did this superbly in its fifth and final season (2014) when it dealt with young Enoch “Nucky” Thompson’s days as a uniform cop alongside the aftermath of his fallen liquor empire.

At first, it was a bit disorienting because viewers weren’t quite sure of how the two would be connected. But as the past story bled into the present, it became apparent that Nucky’s “contemporary” traumas were rooted in one key decision he made as a brash young cop torn between doing the right thing and taking care of his family.

Is the ending of Boardwalk Empire bleak? You bet it is!

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Nucky, a man you sort of grudgingly admire up until then and even through most of the last few episodes, had a choice.

As a young cop, he attempted to help a stray teen girl overcome her circumstances. As the final season continues, you find out that teen was one of the most villainous characters of the entire series — Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol).

Ms. Darmody used her biological son Jimmy as a sex partner from a young age. This obviously set him on a bad course, and when he was gunned down by Nucky in season 2 (following his wife’s death), he left his young son an orphan.

Ms. Darmody then raised that little boy — at least through season 3 — inside of a brothel, which she ran out of the home of the man who impregnated her while she was still a young teenager.

In other words, evil.

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But evil people start somewhere, and at the end of season 5, viewers discover that Darmody was at one time an impressionable young child looking for help. That’s when Nucky turned her over to “the Colonel,” leader of Atlantic City and a pedophile.

Nucky saw a bright future if he did the Colonel’s bidding, and instead of doing the right thing, he sacrificed Gillian in the final moments of the series — just before the story cuts to present, and he’s shot to death by her now-teenage grandson.

In the last moments, you can see Gillian walking toward the Colonel, who is essentially her killer in a “death of Innocence” sort of way. Then it’s a cut to Nucky, who walks toward his literal death.

Now this is not to suggest McClane should die in Die Hard 6, but it does show how beautifully this storytelling device could be used to bring together past and present for a new entry in the series.

Example: Say Young McClane’s instincts could have stopped a deadly bombing in 1970s New York. He didn’t trust those instincts, however, and a lot of people died. The terrorist was never caught. In the modern day Die Hard 6 world, McClane gets a second shot at the terrorist (and an opportunity to stop a plot that could kill thousands). The parallel stories could show (in the past) why John McClane failed and (in the present) how that failure shaped him into the man who will eventually stop the one villain in his career that “got away.”

It’s rough, but workable. What do you think about this as a Die Hard 6 concept, readers — good, or should the whole series be laid to rest?

[Image via Fox]