For the first time ever, someone who is not Bruce Willis will play the role of John McClane in a new Die Hard movie, titled Die Hard: Year One.
However, the good news is that Willis is not relinquishing the role entirely - at least, not yet. The film, which as yet does not have a release date, is going to be both a prequel and a sequel, jumping between the 1970s and the present day.
Willis will play the present day McClane, while a new actor is being drafted in to take on the younger role - we hope his feet have nice, thick, leathery soles.
Currently there is no word on who that actor might be, but director Len Wiseman told Deadline: “The right casting for this role is crucial. Those bare feet have some very big shoes to fill.”
The film will explore McClane’s early days as a vigilante New York cop, with the young McClane’s actions tying in to a lot of present day-McClane’s thoughts, feelings and actions - essentially, we’re set to learn a lot about how he became the hero we know and love.
In an interview with Collider, Wiseman gave us all a little bit more insight into what to expect, and why he would never have done the movie if Bruce Willis wasn’t on board in some form: “The reason I say prequel/sequel is because I wasn’t going to do it without Bruce,” he said.
“I’m also not going to do it with Bruce being a cameo bookend gimmick.
“It’s really working into the plot, with the ‘70s having ramifications on present-day Bruce. It inter-cuts in a very fun, imaginative way with present day John McClane.
“We’ve never seen the actual love story. We know its demise, but we’ve never seen what it was like when he met Holly, or when he was a beat cop in ‘78 in New York when there was no chance of him making detective. It’s always been something I’ve been thinking about, and now we’re doing it. And it ties in.”
The ‘70s part of the movie will be centred around New Year’s Eve, 1979, and Wiseman said he’d love to be able to get an end-of-year release date to tie in with that, but right now there can be no guarantees.
Bruce Willis, now 62 somehow, is still every bit the action hero, and is very happy to be back for what will be the sixth film in the franchise: “I’m really pleased to continue to be asked back to do other versions and other incarnations of Die Hard,” he said.
“The first one really is… that’s all there is. Everything else is just trying to be as good as that film.”
He’s right. The most recent iteration, 2013’s A Good Day to Die Hard, which was about McClane joining his son on a joint mission, was not well received by critics, though still made more than £220 million at the box office, so can hardly be called a failure.
We just have one message for whoever is lucky enough to take on the role of young McClane: Welcome to the party, pal!