Another “prequel that is also a sequel” is in the works, and this time it’s for one of the action genre’s biggest franchises. Director Len Wiseman confirmed at a Television Critics Association event that casting for both a young John McClane and young Holly Gennero will be part of a new film: Die Hard: Year One. Wiseman is waiting for a final script from writers Carey W. Hayes and Chad Hayes. He said that story will feature both a flashback element and a future story. The past will focus on McClane in the 1970s. And Wiseman said he and Bruce Willis want to be part of the process to select the actor who portrays the young McClane.
Back in 2015 when the idea for this movie first surfaced, one logical casting idea was floated: Why not Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Gordon-Levitt played a young McClane character in Looper, and he also has the acting chops to come back for more for such an iconic character. No one else seems that obvious, yet Nicholas Hoult might be a good choice considering his age and significant (and critically acclaimed)action performances in the X-Men series and Mad Max: Fury Road. Another choice that would be difficult not to rule out is Jai Courtney, who played McClane’s son in 2013’s A Good Day to Die Hard.
It also seems obvious that the script writers should look to the two pieces of source material that have already been written. First would be the novel that inspired the film series, Roderick Thorp’s Nothing Lasts Forever (reviewed here at borg.com), the sequel to the 1966 novel The Detective, which was turned into a movie starring Frank Sinatra. If you’re looking to get into the shoes of McClane, this would be the place to begin. But next would be renowned writer Howard Chaykin’s own take on the same title, his comic book series Die Hard: Year One published by BOOM! Comics in 2010 (reviewed here at borg.com). It doesn’t appear the new script writers are looking to these two books for ideas, but note the covers above to the Chaykin series have a great vibe fans would no doubt love to see on the big screen.
The beauty of Chaykin’s John McClane story is its setting during the 1976 bicentennial. When has anyone used that banner summer as the setting for anything on the big screen? It’s exactly that kind of event-driven story that was in Chaykin’s book–and would be–in a film adaptation, perfect for the franchise.
Wiseman has released no date for the film yet, although we can expect it’s still a few years away.