Will Die Hard Ever Make Another Movie?

Die Hard prequels have been discussed, but no films are currently in development.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

bruce willis

These days, stars like Keanu Reeves are helping to redefine what action movies can be, thanks to films like John Wick 4. However, all modern action films owe a major debt to Die Hard, the film that solidified Bruce Willis as a movie star and kicked off its own long-running action franchise. However, that franchise has continued to experience diminishing returns, and between box office disappointments and the poor health of Willis himself, it seems impossible that Disney will ever create another Die Hard movie.

In case you’ve forgotten, the last film in the franchise was A Good Day to Die Hard, and it looked like it was trying to pass the torch from the John McClane character portrayed by Bruce Willis to a new, younger character: Jack McClane, played by Jai Courtney. The plot involved father having to rescue his son from Russia, but this attempt to pass the torch to a younger character worked about as well for John McClane as it did for Indiana Jones. Simply put, audiences didn’t love this movie, and while it made $304.7 million, that was significantly less than the last two franchise entries.

Critics weren’t any kinder to the latest entry in the Die Hard franchise. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a staggeringly low 15 percent among critics and 40 percent among audiences. The combination of being a critical and commercial failure seemed like it might be the kiss of death for these movies, but in recent years, there have been glimmers of hope that we might get a Die Hard 6.

For a while, 20th Century Fox seemed keen on releasing a new Die Hard film that was going to simultaneously be a sequel and a prequel. It was still going to star Bruce Willis, but the tentative plot involved his John McClane character looking back on his early days. These early days would have a different actor portray a young McClane, with the goal clearly being to set a new actor up to carry the franchise (at this point, even the most out-of-touch executives could see that nobody cared about watching movies featuring McClane’s son instead of McClane himself).

ukraine die hard

While never fully confirmed, Hollywood scuttlebutt is that Disney scrapped plans for this new Die Hard movie right around the time they bought 20th Century Fox. Interestingly, though, fans can still experience some of the movies that might have been by reading the BOOM! Studios comic Die Hard Year One featuring the adventures of John McClane as a rookie cop who is new to the force. The movie was going to use this comic as its inspiration, but now that the movie is dead in the water, the comic is all that’s left.

Creatively, another reason that it’s difficult to make another Die Hard movie is that it is difficult for studios to pin down what this franchise is all about. For example, some fans criticized the fact that the proposed prequel movie was going to use a script that was not originally designed with the Die Hard franchise in mind. That may sound lazy, but even the first Die Hard was a very loose adaptation of another work (the novel Nothing Lasts Forever), and since the best entries in the franchise are also adapted from other works, it’s difficult to understand the essence of what makes Die Hard so great.

Until just last year, though, some fans hoped that Bruce Willis might return to the franchise that made him famous, especially since he was still a prolific actor. But that was when the news broke that Willis was suffering from aphasia, which meant he would eventually be unable to understand language. More recently, the actor was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, which fully closed the door on him starring in a Die Hard sequel or any future movie.

As sad as the news about Bruce Willis is, we think he and his family understand how iconic he made the John McClane character. Die Hard isn’t just some franchise like Star Wars that can be given a prequel with an all-new cast: if Willis himself isn’t center stage, then audiences simply aren’t going to show up. And if Hollywood is finally ready to accept that, then we can only tell each of these greedy executives what John McClane himself said so many years ago: welcome to the party, pal.