It’s almost impressive how badly Len Wiseman misses the point of Die Hard. He previously directed Live Free or Die Hard, the PG-13 Die Hard movie that had John McClane launching a car at a helicopter and taking down a fighter jet, and now he wants to do an origin story for Bruce Willis’ iconic cop. For the past couple of years, Wiseman has been set to direct and produce a quasi-prequel that would include Bruce Willis as John McClane but largely focus on a younger McClane. Now The Tracking Board reports that Chad and Carey Hayes (The Conjuring) have been brought on board to rewrite the script.
Per The Tracking Board, “The film is rumored to be an origin story of sorts, in which we see a younger actor portray McClane as a (relatively) regular cop in 1970s New York. Willis’ grizzled take on the character, who has been through a lot over the course of five films, is expected to bookend the movie, which will toggle back and forth between past and present.”
It’s clear that Wiseman sees McClane not as an everyman, who, despite his impressive heroics in the first three Die Hard movies, is reasonably grounded and carries a level of humanity, but as a superhero complete with an origin story. He’s not just some cop anymore; he’s someone with a LEGACY.
The problem here is that if McClane does something impressive in the 1970s, it minimizes his heroics in the original Die Hard because you wonder why people wouldn’t already know him. Perhaps there will be an explanation (like another cop gets the credit for McClane’s actions), but it’s loading up on backstory we don’t need or want. A Good Day to Die Hard showed the franchise was pretty much out of juice, so maybe it’s time for the Die Hard franchise to just die.