John McClane will return for another installment of the Die Hard franchise, but his sixth adventure could take a very different form.
A new report indicates that 20th Century Fox is developing a Die Hard movie that will serve as both a sequel and a prequel tale for Bruce Willis’ hard-luck hero, with the main story set in McClane’s early years with the New York Police Department and featuring a younger actor in the starring role.
According to Deadline, Bruce Willis will likely appear in the film as McClane, but his role will only serve to set up the prequel story, set in 1979. Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman is expected to direct the film, and is reportedly working closely with producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura to develop the project.
The film is being unofficially referred to as Die Hard: Year One — which also happens to be the title of a Boom Studios comic book series published back in 2009 that similarly explored McClane’s “origin story” with the NYPD. That four-issue series was set in New York City during 1976 and had McClane facing off against yet another group of terrorists, and was followed by another four-issue series set during the New York City blackout of 1977.
The studio is reportedly searching for a screenwriter for the film now, with Willis in the loop but not officially confirmed to reprise his role.
While the most recent installment of the Die Hard franchise was a bit underwhelming, 2013’s A Good Day to Die Hard managed to earn more than $300 million worldwide despite a meager $67 million in U.S. theaters and generally negative reviews. Basically, even a bad Die Hard movie can turn a good profit for the studio.
There’s no official word on the timetable for Die Hard: Year One at this point.