Yippee-ki-yay, Supa-Fans! Over the past two months, we’ve been playing web detective, sorting out the truths which lay behind some of the internet’s most virulent pop culture rumours.
On our last outing, we took a look at whether Warner Bros. was looking to bring Keanu Reeves back for a second outing as John Constantine, and this time we’re poking our noses into whispers of a major franchise reboot currently being kicked around Hollywood circles.
So, what’s the goss?
The interwebs would have it that Disney, who last year acquired the rights to the Die Hard franchise as part of their Fox Studios buyout, are planning a complete franchise reboot with a brand new actor at the helm.
Where did all this come from?
In 2013, prior to the Disney buyout, Die Hard frontman Bruce Willis announced that he was signing on for a sixth film in the long-running action series, and Fox confirmed that another film in the franchise was coming with the working title Die Hardest.
In 2015, director Len Wiseman, co-creator of the Underworld franchise and director of the fourth Die Hard instalment, Live Free or Die Hard, was officially tapped to tackle the film and it was confirmed that it would take the form of a prequel of sorts. Using the new working title Die Hard: Year One, the film’s plot would revolve around an older, retired John McLane, still played by Willis, and would contain multiple flashbacks to a younger version of the character set in the 1970s.
— len wiseman (@LenWiseman) October 15, 2015
Wiseman himself confirmed these plot points as recently as 2018, and also confirmed that Bruce Willis was going to be responsible in helping him select the actor which would play his younger counterpart in the film.
Everything appeared to be locked in for production to get underway, and a new official title for the film was even selected and announced: McLane.
Since the Disney/Fox merger was officially finalised in March last year, production on McLane seems to have ground to a complete halt, along with any other number of Fox projects, as Disney reconsidered which film projects they wanted to fund. All official news about the project had come to an eerie standstill, almost as though the film’s production offices had somehow been taken hostage by Hans Gruber and friends. In absence of anything concrete, whispers of a complete change of direction began to circulate via the web.
Stories citing “unofficial sources” began to suggest that rather than proceed with McLane and continue the current franchise, the House of Mouse was contemplating a full series reboot, starting the whole thing over from scratch with a new actor at the helm. To this day, no official confirmation exists regarding the status of McLane or whether this rumoured reboot will take its place.
So what’s the verdict?
Many Die Hard fans may be somewhat perturbed at the thought that anyone other than Willis could possibly take his place at the head of a reinvigorated franchise. What we need to remember, though, is that the very first Die Hard film was not an original story in itself, and instead, it was actually an adaptation of the 1979 action novel Nothing Lasts Forever written by Roderick Thorp.
In the original book, John McLane is actually a retired NYPD detective named Joe Leland, and Holly Genaro (named Stephanie Genaro) is his daughter, not his wife. Aside from this, however, many of the action sequences which made the original ’80s Die Hard an instant cult classic were lifted straight from the pages of the book. If Disney were indeed planning a full reboot, going right back to the original source material might prove to be an interesting way to rework the story without cheapening the legacy of the original Willis films.
That being said, at the moment we have no official word as to which way Mickey is going to run with this one, so we’re pretty much stuck waiting until we hear directly from the mouse’s own mouth. Surprisingly though, when we ran this one through the Supanova Scuttlebutt-o-meter©®™ (Patent Pending) it spat out a 63.12% likelihood rating, before it tied a fire hose around its waist and jumped out a window, just as the room exploded in a shower of glass.
As such its probably best to declare this rumour: Possible, even verging on likely, though not a certainty. Let’s face it, we’re probably going to see another Die Hard eventually, the only question will be whether Bruce Willis is involved or not.