After five years of development, Die Hard 6 has ended with the project crashing through the windows of Nakatomi Plaza and pronounced dead on impact, as producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirms the prequel / reboot has officially been scrapped; its unceremonious and extremely anti-climatic fate sealed shortly after the Disney-Fox merger of 2019.
“Yeah, no… it’s not happening,” di Bonaventura tells Polygon.
“But what was really interesting was we actually came up with an idea to do it. It was a project that wasn’t Die Hard that then, eventually, shifted over to Die Hard.”
Of course, that detail wouldn’t exactly come as a shock to the everyday fan. As many of you may know, the Die Hard films are famed for copy-pasting Bruce Willis as John McClane into otherwise original projects. Fun fact, the first sequel to the original 1988 instalment was an adaptation of Walter Wager’s novel, 58 Minutes.
Franchise screenwriter Steven E. de Souza was hired to shoehorn John McClane into the story somehow after 20th Century Fox acquired the book’s screen rights, and a year later, Willis returned on international screens with that signature grimace for another culturally-significant box office monster.
“What was [also] interesting about our idea was it allowed you the ability to meet the young John McClane and use Bruce Willis. So it was really interesting in that way. So you sort of got to see both versions of him. A bit like The Godfather Part II.”
Numerous versions of the project were pitched in the years since A Good Day To Die Hard hit cinemas back in 2013, including an iteration laughably titled Old Habits Die Hard. The version di Bonaventura references, however, seems far more promising.
Simply dubbed McClane, it would have simultaneously focused on both an elder Willis and younger actor, cutting between John McClane’s early days as a New York City police officer in the 1970s and a modern timeline. Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper, of course, proved it could feasibly be accomplished with reasonably entertaining results. And dare I say it, this might have been the creative reset Die Hard as a cinematic saga so desperately needed.
Die Hard 6 was initially set to be directed by Len Wiseman – who previously directed Live Free or Die Hard, 2012’s Total Recall reboot starring Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale, as well as his involvement with the Underworld flicks, also starring Beckinsale. Additionally, Conjuring writers Chad & Carey Hayes had been tapped to give the screenplay a bit of a refresh.
Who knows? Maybe the McClane prequel will Live Another Day To Die Hard(er).