If there's one franchise that wholeheartedly lives up to its title, then it's Die Hard. Despite a series of highs and lows, the iconic action franchise has remained a fairly consistent presence in cinemas ever since 1988. Over the course of almost three decades, audiences have watched New York detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) go from being a tougher than average every-man, to a nearly invincible, bona fide superhero. After so much chaos and destruction, Die Hard 6 (or Die Hard: Year One) will literally take the franchise back to its roots.
The explosions can only get so much bigger, so the willingness to take the series back in time seems predicated on one important question: how did John McClane become the jaded tough guy audiences know and love from the first film in the series? Now it seems that the sixth Die Hard film will endeavor to answer that question, and explore the franchise's mythology.
A new report from /Film indicates that the sixth Die Hard will fall somewhere between sequel and prequel in terms of style. The film won't continue on from where A Good Day to Die Hard left off, but it won't exclusively rely on the events that transpired before John McClane first set foot in the Nakatomi building in 1988. This revelation means that Bruce Willis will have a much larger role in the film than initially assumed by those who thought the action icon would show up in a quick cameo appearance only.
Producer Len Wiseman explained the desire to go back and explore certain facets of the character's history:
For sure, because he can’t be the superhero... It’s a delicate balance of giving you a sense of what started McClane, because McClane when he comes into Die Hard 1 has a lot of emotional baggage, baggage in general moreso than a lot of our other action characters in the sense that he’s already divorced. He’s got an incredible chip on his shoulder. He’s bitter. His captain hates him, doesn’t want him back in New York. What caused all that? Why was he already that guy?"
The very nature of the Die Hard franchise requires that whatever events transpire in the past must take place on a relatively small-scale. As the events of the first Die Hard gave John McClane 15 minutes of fame, the prequel aspects of Die Hard 6 can't be grandiose enough to draw too much attention to McClane's exploits. This seems wholly intentional, as a major complaint leveled against the franchise in recent years is that it has gotten to bombastic compared to the grounded nature of the original installment.
However, they could still go a long way towards explaining why McClane seems so down and out at the beginning of the original film, what happened between him and Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), and how an ordinary man such as himself learns to cope with such extreme circumstances. Wiseman did not elaborate as to whether or not Bonnie Bedelia or the character of Holly McClane would appear in the film, but it seems like a strong possibility given the prequel aspect.
In a way the structure sounds somewhat familiar to The Godfather Part II, which told a primary story that built upon the events of the original, while also going back in time to inform the film's backstory. The general assumption we can make from this sort of structure is that whatever events transpire in the flashback portion of the movie will likely have ramifications for modern-day McClane. Die Hard With A Vengeance is generally considered by most fans to be the best sequel in the series, primarily because it references the events of the first, so Die Hard 6 will likely try to capitalize on that idea yet again. We will just have to wait and see if the decision pays off.
We’ll bring you more information on Die Hard 6/Die Hard: Year One as it becomes available.