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 has retitled the next installment of the popular action franchise, dropping the unofficial Die Hard: Year One working title and putting the spotlight on its iconic hero with a new title: McClane. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura revealed the official title of the project, which will serve as both a prequel and sequel, and bring back franchise star Bruce Willis.“You can tell our intention by the fact that the title page we handed in says McClane,” said di Bonaventura in an interview with Empire. “We want you to get invested in John McClane more than ever before.”
First announced in October 2015, McClane will serve as both a sequel and a prequel tale for Willis’ hard-luck hero, with the main story shifting between McClane’s early years with the New York Police Department — with a younger actor in the starring role — and the current time period for the character. Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman will direct the film from a script by Carey W. Hayes and Chad Hayes (The Conjuring).
Di Bonaventura dismissed initial reports that suggested Willis’ version of the character would simply serve to set up the main story or bookend the events of the film, and indicated that the older John McClane will have just as much screen time as the younger version, which has yet to be cast.
“I don’t know how you do Die Hard without Bruce,” he said. “The idea that he’s not very significant in this movie is not accurate at all. We are gonna explore John McClane in his 20s. But just as prominent is the 60-year-old version.”
The portion of the film featuring a young McClane will reportedly be set in 1979 and be an origin story of sorts for the character — much like the Die Hard: Year One comic book series published by Boom Studios in 2009. That four-issue series was set in New York City during 1976 and had McClane facing off against yet another group of terrorists. It was followed by another four-issue series set during the New York City blackout of 1977.
Willis is reportedly involved with casting the younger McClane, and there’s no official word on which — if any — franchise characters will also appear in McClane. 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.
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