The forthcoming sixth Die Hard movie has been retitled McClane. The original Die Hard followed New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis), who becomes trapped in a building when a gang of thieves take it over and he’s forced to rely on his wits to survive. In contrast to the muscular, one-liner spouting action heroes who dominated action movies in the 1980s, McClane was vulnerable and relatable and frequently had to overcome his own fears to succeed.
This made the character a breath of fresh air, and in the 1990s Willis returned for two well-received sequels - Die Hard 2: Die Harder and Die Hard With A Vengeance. The franchise took an extended break after this, and it took a full 12 years for McClane to return in Live Free Or Die Hard. While the film was a big hit, it was criticized by fans for lacking the relatively grounded action of past entries and for turning McClane into a glib, invulnerable action hero. The most recent entry – A Good Day To Die Hard – was roundly bashed for its paper-thin story, overly edited action sequences and Willis’ phoned-in performance.
The weak reception to A Good Day To Die Hard has many skeptical another sequel will be any better. It’s been known for some time the story would be a split narrative, with modern-day John McClane investigating a case from his past, with another actor playing young McClane. Live Free Or Die Hard director Len Wiseman has been developing the script for a while, which has gone under the working title Die Hard: Year One, but in a new interview with Empire, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirms the title will be simply McClane.
You can tell our intention by the fact that the title page we handed in says, ‘McCLANE.' We want you to get invested in John McClane more than ever before.
Some reports suggested the split narrative would focus more on the young version of McClane, but the producer also confirmed Bruce Willis will play a large role in the story.
I don’t know how you do Die Hard without Bruce. The idea that he’s not very significant in this movie is not accurate at all. We are gonna explore John McClane in his twenties. But just as prominent is the 60-year-old version.
McClane has been in development for a number of years now, with Wiseman himself recently stating he choose to take time to develop a solid script after he faced story issues during the rushed production of Live Free Or Die Hard back in 2007. Fans are still skeptical about the premise of the project, however, and the idea the character needs an origin story.
Hopefully, McClane will find a unique angle to explore the series and the title alone suggests the script will be very character focused. Another area of concern is Willis himself, who has had a noticeable tendency to coast through many of his recent roles, such as Death Wish and RED 2. That said, between McClane and Glass, it appears the veteran star is making a concentrated effort to make strong work again.
We'll keep you updated on McClane as more information becomes available.