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The Die Hard prequel McClane died hard because of Disney

But it sounds like a decent idea

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Though McClane, a theoretical reboot/prequel to the Die Hard franchise, continues to float around IMDb and Wikipedia filmographies, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirms to that the project is a no-go.

“Yeah, no, It’s not happening,” di Bonaventura told Polygon during press rounds for Snake Eyes, the latest installment of the G.I. Joe series. “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.”

The Die Hard movies have a legacy of repurposing original ideas into vehicles for Bruce Willis’ John McClane. After the success of the original 1988 film, 20th Century Fox executives acquired the rights to Walter Wager’s novel 58 Minutes and hired Die Hard screenwriter Steven E. de Souza to plug in McClane. Die Hard with a Vengeance began as an original action script before Warner Bros. rejiggered it into an installment of the Lethal Weapon franchise. When that didn’t work out, the studio sold the script off to Fox, where it was turned into a Die Hard.

McClane would have taken a similar approach, di Bonaventura said, and allowed Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard), who was announced for the project in 2015, the chance to work with Willis and a fresh face.

“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].”

Though many Die Hard 6 scripts were considered over the years — including Old Habits Die Hard, which made waves in 2013 for being written on spec and posted in full online — the prequel script involving parallel storylines was actually gaining steam ... and then Disney acquired Fox in 2019.

“I don’t know what their plans are,” di Bonaventura said of the franchise and character. Under the Walt Disney Corporation, the newly minted 20th Century Studios is just starting to dip into Fox’s extensive library for inspiration. A series of Simpsons shorts on Disney Plus have lampooned Disney products like Marvel and Star Wars. An Alien TV series is on its way from Fargo creator Noah Hawley. For now, John McClane lies dormant. But in the era of streaming content and IP demands, nothing dies — hard or otherwise.