die hard prequel

Len Wiseman was at the Fox party for the Television Critics Association because he directed the pilot for The Gifted. I would’ve been happy to talk to him about the X-Men series too, but he’s actually too busy to be involved in the second season. So then we just talked about Die Hard: Year One, Wiseman’s in-development film that will feature both Bruce Willis as the John McClane we know and a young version of the unlucky detective in flashbacks.

We talked about how close Wiseman is to getting the film off the ground, how it will be different from Wiseman’s Live Free or Die Hard, and who from the extended McClane family could return.

A Young Holly Gennero is in the Script

Bonnie Bedelia has not appeared in a Die Hard movie since Die Hard 2. She’s waiting for John to call her at the end of Die Hard with a Vengeance, and the sequels had Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Jack (Jai Courtney) fulfill the role of estranged family using their mother’s maiden name Gennero to distance themselves from John.

Wiseman said that the Die Hard: Year One script, which tells parallel stories in the ‘70s and present day, features young Holly in the flashback scenes.

“There is [a young Holly],” Wiseman said. “I will tell you there is.”

The return of Holly Gennero is great news for Die Hard fans. Are we going to see how they met? If so, that begs the question, could John reunite with Bedelia’s Holly in the present?

“There may very well be [a reunion],” Wiseman said.

This is honestly the most exciting news I’ve heard about Die Hard 6. John’s realization that he was a selfish husband and reconciliation with Holly is a core part of what makes Die Hard such a classic. It’s actually nice to see them getting along, if separated by terrorists, in Die Hard 2.

It made sense for them to be broken up again so that John could be at his lowest point in Die Hard With a Vengeance, but there’s kind of no good reason she wasn’t in Live Free or A Good Day to Die Hard. And if this is going to be the last Die Hard with Willis, it would be nice to resolve their marriage on a positive note.

Wiseman Won’t Make a Major Live Free or Die Hard Mistake Again

Live Free or Die Hard really split the fans of the franchise. Many were angry that it was PG-13, and many felt that John McClane lost his everyman quality from the first trilogy. That argument’s been played out, but I will say I liked the way Live Free adapted John McClane to what action movies were in 2007. They were more outlandish and full of CGI, and they were PG-13. Besides, if an R-rating is all it takes to make a good Die Hard movie, then A Good Day to Die Hard would be a classic (it’s not).

But Wiseman brought up another aspect of 2007 franchise filmmaking I hadn’t thought of. They used to greenlight movies for release dates and then finish the script while shooting. Wiseman refuses to do that again.

Die Hard’s going to be happening fairly soon,” Wiseman said. “No dates. I’ve been asked about dates before and I’m always wrong. The date is when the script is right which is when we all want to go. The script has taken quite a long time. I want it to be right, as everybody does. The truth is we started prepping Live Free or Die Hard when the script was not ready. That process of working on the script as we were shooting the movie is not the funnest thing in the world to do. We pulled it together but nobody wants to go through that again.”

According to Wiseman, studios are finally starting to see the value in finishing the script before filming. Go figure!

“I think it’s also more so than any other time, [the script]’s very important,” Wiseman said. “We’ve seen it all. We’ve seen a lot. I think even, say, 10 years ago, I think studios in general were a little bit more willing to put movies like that, franchise movies into production with a sense of ‘we’ll continue to work on the script.’ I think that attitude has changed.”

Bruce Willis Will Help Choose His ‘70s Counterpart

When Wiseman first shared the Die Hard: Year One title, people assumed it was a way for Willis to get out of filming. They thought he’d be in bookend scenes at the beginning and end. After all, he has filmed a lot of straight-to-video movies that didn’t require a lot of screen time.

Back in 2016, Wiseman assured /Film that Willis was in the movie consistently. And that idea has remained the same throughout the development of Die Hard: Year One.

“The core idea has not [changed] at all,” Wiseman said. “It’s still working in parallel, cutting back and forth, what we see in the ‘70s has ramifications on present day Bruce. That hasn’t changed at all.”

John McClane has big shoes to fill, so it will help that Willis gets a say in who plays him prior to the events of Die Hard. Not necessarily because it’s in Willis’s contract, but because Wiseman wants his input.

“Contractually, I don’t have any idea,” Wiseman said. “Personally, together he and I, I want that.”

Die Hard celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, and Bruce Willis was roasted by Comedy Central last weekend. We’ll see how soon Wiseman can begin shooting Die Hard: Year One.

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