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A Die Hard movie without Bruce Willis is no longer a Die Hard movie. It’s as simple as that. So when it was teased recently that the sixth instalment to the action franchise would be Die Hard: Year One, a prequel focused on a younger John McClane, which would only have Bruce Willis involved to open and close the film, fans were understandably a little antsy. But now director Len Wiseman admitted that’s far from true, confirming that Bruce Willis will be more involved than that.
The filmmaker was promoting the new Fox show he's producing, Lucifer, when Slash Film caught up with him and asked about rumors that John McClane will only be in two scenes. He said:
He will be more present than that. This character of course is modern day and the origin story if you can call it that has ramifications on present day McClane. What it’s not is it’s not a cameo bookend scenario. It’s a prequel/sequel hybrid that I really haven’t seen before and is incredibly different.
Len Wiseman didn’t stop there talking about the possibilities for the John McClane origin story, admitting that he is really interested in the origins of the NYPD officer’s relationship with his wife Holly, played by Bonnie Bedelia in Die Hard and Die Harder but who has not been seen in any of the films since.
Does this mean that Bonnie Bedelia might make her return to the franchise in a possible sixth Die Hard film? It’s too early to tell, and Len Wiseman refused to provide an answer on the subject. All he did reveal is that the action of Die Hard 6 can’t be overly explosive and legendary, because people had never heard of John McClane before the Nakotomi hostage situation in Die Hard.
This should hopefully make Die Hard 6 much more grounded than the latter instalments, which have been roundly criticised for turning John McClane into a borderline superhero who is able to survive anything. This is far from the John McClane that everyone fell in love with in the original Die Hard.
At the moment we’re still none the wiser about how Len Wiseman is actually involved in Die Hard 6, or even a possible release date. All that we know is that Die Hard: Year One is currently in development over at 20th Century Fox, and that the decision has been made to try and make a prequel/sequel hybrid. It’s a tricky proposition, but one that, if it’s done right, could bring a new vitality to the series.
Len Wiseman was previously tasked with rejuvenating the Die Hard franchise back in 2007 with Live Free Or Die Hard, something that he actually managed to do rather well. Sure, it didn’t even match up to Die Hard: With A Vengeance, let alone come anywhere near the cinematic perfection that is Die Hard, but it was enjoyable none the less. It also was also umpteen times better than the cinematic abomination that followed after: A Good Day To Die Hard.