Returning Characters and Franchise End in Next 'Die Hard' Sequel?
Towards the beginning of the year, John McClane (Bruce Willis) went to Russia for the mostly panned action sequel A Good Day to Die Hard, but shortly thereafter we heard that a sixth film was already in the works with the working title of Die Hardest. At the time, Ben Trebilcook was hired to write a treatment for a sequel that would take McClane from New York City to Tokyo, which made us think that it sounded similar to an unused spec script that the writer handed in to Fox for Die Hard 4. Well, the writer recently spoke to WhatCulture and he revealed tidbits of what he wrote including returning characters and more.
First of all, Trebilcook's spec script saw McClane's son working for the Nakatomi Corporation, the owners of the building from the first Die Hard. That detail would likely need to be changed in order to coincide with the events of the last sequel. When he was hired, Trebilcook said, "It is extremely faithful to the franchise and characters and is a natural progression. It's also a very plausible storyline. I feel it could be the Rocky Balboa of the Die Hard franchise." So just what kind of details are we looking at for what will be the sixth outing with John McClane? The writer says:
"Without spoiling too much, I can say that McClane is invited to Tokyo by the Nakatomi Corporation to be commended for his bravery and efforts in saving 36 lives, celebrating this on the 30th anniversary of the Naktatomi Hostage Crisis. It’s by no means 'Black Rain.' Perhaps has a slight 'Rising Sun' type tone. It’s also not a double-act buddy-buddy story. McClane began on his own and should end on his own. Of course he’s had assistance in various guises, aiding him in his ventures; but it’s not 'Lethal Weapon' or a Jackie Chan film."
That one little tidbit implies that this would be the end of the series. Is that intentional? Trebilcook says, "Yes, I’ve written it as the last John McClane Die Hard adventure." And that means bringing back old characters and referencing the film that started it all. The writer explains:
"My story, being set in Japan, obviously has Nakatomi playing an extremely significant role; in a way that, well, it’s John McClane in Japan and if you’ve seen any Japanese movies or at least know anything about their culture at all, you know it would have a lot of potential to be nuts. It’s not 'Ichi The Killer,' but it is crazy and as real as you can get in these realms. It’s violent, but not over the top nor unnecessarily Looney Tune like Olympus. It’s well researched, faithful to the franchise, yet giving a possible audience such a refreshing punch to the face, they’ll be saying ‘Wow. I really wasn’t expecting that.’"
Trebilcook sensed that the interview wanted a taste of the unexpected and revealed:
"A few Japanese fans on Twitter put two and two together when I uploaded a picture of a Katana (Samurai Sword) with some kanji reading ‘Zeus’. Yes, I’ve written Zeus Carver in for Samuel L Jackson."
Like I said before, it’s not a buddy-buddy script, but you can’t ignore him. Zeus played a major part in McClane’s life. They went through a lot together. They would certainly, without a doubt, still be in contact. A guy I know, Stel, wrote the '51st State' (aka 'Formula 51') with Sam the Man. I put the idea to him and he said Sam would probably love to have a sword in a movie; that’s how you could woo him. Let’s say I have a 'Better Tomorrow 2' vibe."
Since Die Hard with a Vengeance is probably the best sequel in the series, we're completely fine with Jackson being brought back in to play Zeus, but we're also wondering how he gets a hold of a samurai sword. So where do we find McClane in this final installment, especially after seeing that he's nearly invincible in the last two sequels. Thankfully, Trebilcook brings him down to Earth again for his farewell:
"McClane is a gunslinger. A now retired, worn-out, tired, busted and broken cowboy. Everything he’s been through has to be taken into account. Yes, it’s a movie, but he isn’t invincible. He was never Bond. That’s what was so appealing to me with Bruce’s character. He got hurt. I see the first one as a drama with elements of action. It took its time to set up the story and unfold great characters. I believe I got that and also what I call ‘the hose-reel moment’. You know, when McClane, in the first Die Hard leaped off the building with a fire hose, before it went kaboom; in the second, he ejects himself from the plane when he’s surrounded by grenades and in the third, he’s shot out the tunnel, through the air with a gush of water. I’ve got that ‘hose-reel moment’, as well as that cringing ‘glass pulling from the feet’ type scene. Man, that gets me every time. Pursued by bad guys; does he face them and die, or retreat, barefoot, across broken glass? Then picks out itty bitty shards from his cut feet."
Of course, we're not sure if we'll end up seeing this version of the script on the big screen. After all, the previous Die Hard films have all gone through several script iterations with details changing dramatically between drafts, and when he was hired, Trebilcook said:
"There are many hurdles to leap yet and two of those are called Bruce Willis and [producer] Alex Young. Producers might go back and find some other source material to base the next one on, like they did with the first and second."
If Trebilcook's script isn't used, let's hope it at least lays the groundwork for a solid end to the franchise (if Fox will even let them end it here). Oh, and just for good measure here's two more fun tidbits. The writer says this version of Die Hardest has "probably the best 'Yippie Ki Yay' one could ever hope for." And for those who have been wondering where the hell Bonnie Bedelia (Holly Gennaro McClane) has gone, Trebilcook adds, "McClane is of retirement age and his ex-wife would definitely be retired, but hang on. Didn’t Holly work for Nakatomi? Yippie ki yay." For tons more from the writer, head over to WhatCulture for their full interview. Stay tuned to see how this all plays out as the sequel develops. Thoughts?