Because few of us would say no to an enormous suitcase of cash dumped on our front lawn, Bruce Willis will return to the Die Hard franchise for a sixth time, his first since 2013’s A Good Day to Die Hard.
Len Wiseman, co-creator of the Underworld franchise and director of 2007’s Die Hard 4.0, has been teasing the film since 2015, when he announced a title, Die Hard: Year One, on Twitter. The film will be partly set in the past, with John McClane depicted as a rookie cop in Seventies New York.
— len wiseman (@LenWiseman) October 15, 2015
The young McClane will be played by a different actor, with Willis appearing in scenes that bookend the film. Meaning Willis can collect a hefty paycheck without actually having to stretch his legs too much.
But after being stuck in development for nearly two years, Wiseman has revealed to Deadline that production is finally underway, with casting for the role of a young Willis having already commenced. He said, “The right casting for this role is crucial. Those bare feet have some very big shoes to fill.”
The new Die Hard could also be envisioned as an attempt to reboot the franchise with a new star, following the dismal reaction to Jai Courtney’s Jack McClane, John’s estranged son who appeared in A Good Day to Die Hard. That film also bombed in the US, but ended up making the bulk of its profits overseas.
Willis told Showbiz Spy in 2010 (via Moviehole) that he has every intention to retire from the franchise after its sixth installment: “In the next few years they could easily find a replacement for me or call the character someone else. But for me, I want to do Die Hard 5, then one final Die Hard movie — Die Hard 6 — before finally hanging that white vest up for good.
“At the moment, I can run and I can fight on screen. But there will come a time when I no longer want to do that. That’s when I’ll step away from the Die Hard films.”