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‘Die Hard’ Prequel Will Be a Mix of Past and Present McClane Family Members

Are we sure John McClane isn’t the one who is too old for this shit?
Die Hard Bruce Willis
By  · Published on August 3rd, 2018

Are we sure John McClane isn’t the one who is too old for this shit?

With Matt Reeves assuring us that The Batman will not be an adaptation of the iconic “Batman: Year One” comic book series, the Die Hard franchise is pushing forward with their origin story reinvention. We’ve known about the probability of Die Hard: Year One for quite some time, and we’ve concocted our own ideas about how it should all go down. Whether a previous John McClane adventure negates what made the original Die Hard so special or not is beside the point. Our favorite everyman detective is going back in time and reliving a past trauma that will hopefully add context to all of his various terrorist showdowns.

Slashfilm recently chatted with Len Wiseman at a TCA Fox Party. The director was there to represent his pilot for The Gifted, but apparently, all he wanted to discuss was the impeding Die Hard prequel.

“’Die Hard’ is going to be happening fairly soon. No dates…The script has taken quite a long time. I want it to be right, as everybody does.”

Wiseman is determined to have a script in before shooting. He was forced into an ugly spot in the past, and he would like to avoid such a hellish experience:

“The truth is we started prepping ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ when the script was not ready. That process of working on the script as we were shooting the movie is not the funnest thing in the world to do. We pulled it together but nobody wants to go through that again.”

Wiseman explained that this sixth Die Hard would involve two parallel stories. Bruce Willis is continuing his exhausted but extremely capable cop routine in the present day and a younger actor will be cast to play the 1970s version. Willis is working very closely with Wiseman in casting his younger self.

We’ve seen other actors attempt to replicate Bruce Willis before. Most notably, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Rian Johnson’s time-travel thriller, Looper. Personally, as a fan of that film, I’d get a real kick out of Wiseman attempting this duality again. Gordon-Levitt shamelessly dove into the uncanny valley in that film, mastering many Willis mannerisms. There are scenes in Looper that could almost be supplemented into a creepy Twilight Zone version of Moonlighting.

Die Hard: Year One is looking to resurrect more than just Bruce Willis’ hairline. Wiseman is determined to deliver a John and Holly romance, the young love that would eventually split only to be repaired through terrorist intervention, and shattered once more to serve the drama of Die Hard With A Vengeance. Wiseman reveals that we could also see a franchise homecoming for Bonnie Bedelia.

“There is [a young Holly]. I will tell you there is. There may very well be [a reunion].”

Now, when you consider the return of John’s first love, the riddle of the McClane casting might already have an effective answer. Within the FSR slack channel, our own Christopher Campbell suggested that the young Holly should be played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead who inhabited the McClane daughter in Wiseman’s Live Free or Die Hard. Boom. Done. Make it happen.

Of course, if Winstead joins as young Holly, that means young John must be played by sonny boy Jai Courtney from A Good Day To Die Hard. Think about that movie poster. Past and present selves back to back, the Nakatomi Plaza stretching skyward between them, and a rooftop explosion mushrooming into a giant heart.

Ok, so I may not be the best graphic designer, but you cannot deny the appeal of this team. Fox and Wiseman will want a new set of actors to sell their movie on, but when there is proven talent built into the series, I say take advantage. If this dead horse must be beaten, at least stay true to the genetics that was previously established.

P.S. I’m still waiting on word of a Sgt. Al Powell cameo, or maybe even a glimpse of hotshot reporter Richard Thornburg.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)