There have been rumblings about a Die Hard prequel since as far back as 2009. Back then, there was a comic book called Die Hard: Year One from Boom! Studios that focused on John McClane before the events of the first movie, when he was earning his badge in 1976. Then an entirely different idea took form as a film prequel with the same title. Since then, it’s been talked about every now and then, and it ended up going by the title McClane. But thankfully, we can now confirm that the Die Hard prequel is officially dead.
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has been making the publicity rounds for Snake Eyes as it flounders at the box office, and Polygon asked him about the status of the Die Hard prequel. There hasn’t been an update on the project since 2018, and it sounds like there’s a good reason for that. When asked about the project, di Bonaventura flatly said, "Yeah, no, It’s not happening."
However, di Bonaventura sounds like he still likes the idea. The producer explained:
"But what was really interesting was we actually came up with an idea to do it. It was a project that wasn’t Die Hard that then, eventually, shifted over to Die Hard. What was interesting about our idea was it allowed you the ability to meet the young John McClane and use Bruce. So it was really interesting in that way. So you sort of got to see both versions of him. A bit [like The Godfather Part 2]."
I’m not necessarily sure that’s interesting. What makes Die Hard so great is that John McClane is an ordinary cop caught up in an extraordinary situation. We assume he’s never had to deal with such a dangerous scenario before, so explaining how he came to be so die hard before Die Hard feels like a terrible idea. It doesn’t work the same way that Batman Begins or Casino Royale does by giving characters like Batman and James Bond origin stories. Die Hard is its own origin story.
Even though this was a Die Hard origin story with a young John McClane played by a different actor, it had been reported Bruce Willis would still appear in the movie. When Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman was on board the film, he said the movie was more of a prequel/sequel hybrid that gave Bruce Willis a significant role. That explains the Godfather Part II vibe that di Bonaventura is talking about.
Honestly, we’re not upset about losing this Die Hard prequel. It’s probably best if the movie goes back to being an original idea instead of a Die Hard movie. After A Good Day to Die Hard left the worst taste in our mouth, we’re thinking it’s time for John McClane to retire. Or maybe he can just keep shilling car batteries. Either way, now that 20th Century Fox is under the Walt Disney banner, the fate of John McClane is in their hands.