The latest Hollywood rumour is that Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is developing a Die Hard prequel film to be set in 1979. The reboot/prequel seems to be the trend at the moment, but have these guys forgotten that we already had a Die Hard origin story called Die Hard?
Despite popular opinion, I don't think the Die Hard movie sequels have fallen as far from grace as some may think. A Good Day to Die Hard may have been the weakest link of the series with a less than imaginative script, but it still had some solid action scenes and a few memorable John McClane moments. (The unrated version of the film was fun to watch, proving the PG13 toning down could be what is leading criticism). However it appears to be pretty clear the studio wasn't happy with the box office result, so the answer is to turn to the semi-reboot angle. This approach was already successfully actioned by Star Trek, and less successfully by The Terminator franchise.
Reports suggest that this movie will be a Godfather Part II style movie with two separate story lines set over two time periods. This way Bruce Willis' face can still be involved in the film's marketing but a new younger John McClane can be introduced to ensure the future of the franchise. Sadly this confirms Australian actor Jai Courtney has been 'box-officed' out of another big role. He recently was in Terminator Genisys' Kyle Reese in what is likely the now cancelled 'new' Terminator trilogy. He previously played John McClane's son, Jack in a Good Day to Die Hard which originally appeared to be an attempt to hand over the franchise.
But do we need a John McClane origin story when we already have a perfectly good one?
How can anyone argue that out of all the films, McClane's character arc is the strongest and most defined in the original? He arrives to the Nakatomi Plaza building in Los Angeles an average cop who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then leaves transformed into a hero who saved the day. Then it takes a good 15 minutes of Die Harder for his transformation into a super-like hero to be complete - a transformation that will eventually see him taking on trained special operation forces, ejecting from plane cockpits and blowing up entire passenger jets. By Die Hard with a Vengeance he's a legendary super cop that sees an entire terrorist attack centralised around McClane's mythos.
The reality is that the Die Hard film rights is a limited business property, much like many other franchises. If the current rights holder doesn't make a film within a specified time, those rights return to whoever sold them in the first place. It's a complicated legal matter that essentially is the heart of the film industry in Hollywood. And it is sounding like the time has come to either make a new Die Hard film or let the rights slip.
What I would like to see is just one more Bruce Willis Die Hard film. A final sequel that returns him back to the roots of where it all began. A building full of bad guys, a ventilation system ready to explore and McClane in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Daniel Sanguineti is a Australian Film Producer and Writer, who tutors film and media at the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology. He is on twitter @DanSanguineti.