After the poorly received recent attempts to update the Die Hard franchise with Die Hard 4.0 and A Good Day To Die Hard, you may be forgiven for thinking that Die Hard had finally...well, died (hard).
Plans are afoot to revive it, though, and it seems that Bruce Willis might have to drag his ageing body across broken glass again with plans for a sixth installment in the works.
However, in shocking news, it's possible that this time around Willis won't be the main star. According to Deadline, rumour has it that the film will be set in the late 1970s. This means a new actor will play a young John McClane, though Willis could reprise the role for bookend scenes at the beginning and end.
The film - with the working title Die Hard: Year One - is being billed as effectively an "origin story" for McClane, showing his early days as a New York beat cop, before he spent his time foiling terrorist plots with his signature resourcefulness and cynical quips.
Early reports have not suggested any names in the frame for the young version of the lead role, though I wonder if Joseph Gordon-Levitt can be tempted to don the prosthetic nose he wore to play a youthful Willis in 2012's Looper?
There may be no stars attached to the project yet - even Willis' appearance isn't confirmed - as it's very early days, but the man behind the camera is likely to be Len Wiseman, who directed Die Hard 4.0. John Moore, who sat in the director's chair for the widely disliked A Good Day To Die Hard, will be giving way.
I'm usually fairly ambivalent about Hollywood wringing as much mileage as they can out of their marquee franchises (as I've discussed before). Remakes, reboots and needless sequels don't particularly anger me. No matter how many bad Die Hard films get made - even when elderly John McClane complains about cataracts in between shooting terrorists in Die Hard 22 - my love for the original trilogy will remain undimmed. And yet...I can't help but feel that the rumoured story for Die Hard 6 is a bit pointless.
I'm not against more Die Hard per se, and there is still fun to be had with the formula. For example, White House Down was not a Die Hard film but it followed the familiar template. Replace Channing Tatum's Cale character with Willis in that iconic vest; it's easy to see McClane coming to the rescue of a U.S. President, trapped in a White House besieged by terrorists.
With a little imagination, the Die Hard films could be enjoyable once again, but I don't think showing us young McClane's days on the NYPD will be the way to do that. The appeal of the character in the first three films is that he was just an ordinary - albeit resourceful and witty - beat cop in an extraordinary situation ("in the wrong place at the wrong time"). It wasn't until Die Hard 4.0 and A Good Day To Die Hard that the character was transformed from a relateable human to an invulnerable super-cop. Do we really want to see the ordinary adventures of a regular, wise-cracking cop? Or, if they follow the trajectory of the later films, the extraordinary adventures of a cop who can destroy a helicopter with a car? Either way, that doesn't sound much fun, and not deserving of a "yippee ki-yay!"
If the ideas are there I have no problem with watching more Die Hard films. I just don't think that Die Hard: Year One is a good idea. Still, let's look on the bright side - at least if the film features a young McClane, we won't be subjected to another unmemorable turn from professional charisma vacuum Jai Courtney as his son.