It’s the Booze Talkin: Do we really need to see Die Hard: Year One?

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

All of us here at AITH adore the hell out of scary movies, but every so often we like to talk about a Christmas flick in August. And what holiday themed feature could I be talking about? Welcome to the party, pal! While not technically horror – or according to Bruce Willis, a Christmas movie – DIE HARD is one of the greatest action movies of all time. The John McTiernan directed classic featured an iconic hero in John McClane, and an even more iconic villain courtesy of Alan Rickman. It is a brilliantly directed, exhilerating adventure that manages to give fans a ton of great characters and some of the coolest action set pieces ever to grace the cinema. But apparently, 20th Century Fox wants to see what McClane was like before he took on bad guys at the Nakatomi Plaza 30 years ago.

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When it comes to the sequels, I’m mostly a fan. DIE HARD 2 was a blast and a half for this viewer. The same can be said about DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE and to a lesser extent, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. However, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD wasn’t much of a good day for anybody. I’ve spent a ton of time with this franchise, it’s one that I hold very near and dear to my heart. I own every single film – and that includes multiple copies of the first four films. And yes, I even own the Nakatomi Plaza collectors set that offers up all five films. To be honest, that’s probably the only reason I actually have A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD in my possession. Well, I am a completist so perhaps not.

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While my love for the DIE HARD series is obvious, I’m not quite certain that we are desperate for the sixth film and the direction it’s taking. Since we are living in an age of remakes and reboots and sequels, it’s not shocking that Fox isn’t ready to bury McClane so fast. Our own Cody Hamman recently reported on the announcement that the long gestating news of yet another sequel – this time part prequel – appears to making some headway. Recently, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD director Len Wiseman announced that they are making sure the script is complete – something they did not do for his first foray into the franchise:

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Die Hard’s going to be happening fairly soon. 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. I think it’s also more so than any other time, [the script]’s very important. 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.

die hard year one len wiseman john mctiernan action bruce willis it's the booze talkin sequelPerhaps this is a good thing. Maybe we are going to get a great script, one that will surprise fans of the franchise – especially after the less-than-stellar A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD reactions. By presenting two different time lines for McClane in the in-development DIE HARD: YEAR ONE, the studio can bring us the early adventures of McClane, and still have Willis involved. Yet it is difficult to muster much excitement for the prospect of a worthy follow up to the original. In fact, I question whether this is a good idea at all. As much as I adore McClane and his wisecracking heroic self, this prequel/sequel idea seems to be a risky attempt to hold on to what has been a strong franchise.

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When we met McClane in the original film, he was just a guy who can’t seem to separate his love of the police force from his husband and fatherly duties. This unexpected hero helped change the way we look at action stars, especially since most fans only knew Willis from the hit series Moonlighting at the time. If we see McClane performing daring escapes and chasing down bad guys as a young officer in 1978, will this lesson his unexpected heroism in the 1988 feature? We’ve seen him become a hero in the most satisfying of ways, so why would we need to see that again? The only way I could imagine this really working is by taking a vastly different approach with the young – perhaps idealistic – police officer, and not having him jump off buildings by tying a fire hose around his waist. For that, you’d be better off doing a DIE HARD Netflix series of something along those lines.

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Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but we already have a YEAR ONE for John McClane – it’s called DIE HARD. If we see a young officer taking on the kind of criminals he did in his introduction, it could very well change what we know of the heroic cop. Considering we don’t even have a finished script and it has taken so long for Wiseman and company to get this one in front of the camera, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we may be waiting for a very long time to see YEAR ONE. By then, they may just scrap it and decide to just go and reinvent the character by means of a remake – an inevitable fate for many a classic. Either way, unless they are making a very different type of sequel, it doesn’t feel right to watch a new origin story for McClane. We’ve already seen it and it was perfection.

Source: AITH

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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.