'Die Hard 6' Screenwriter Promises a Return to John McClane's Roots

Die Hard

Not that we have any right to expect greatness from the fifth installment in any franchise, but A Good to Die Hard was still one of the more disappointing sequels of 2013 -- one more cartoonish step removed from the first film's perfect blend of gritty drama and high-stakes popcorn action. Of course, given the original Die Hard's "one ordinary guy having a really bad day" premise, it was always going to be tough to spin off quality sequels, but over the last couple of movies, our hero John McClane (Bruce Willis) has morphed from a hardworking cop into a wisecracking superhero, much to our everlasting disappointment.

Fortunately, screenwriter Ben Trebilcook seems to agree with us -- and he sounds like he's got a plan to turn the upcoming Die Hardest into a fitting finale for the series. How, you ask? Simple -- by rolling back all the over-the-top shenanigans of recent sequels and turning McClane back into the guy we all fell in love with in 1988. Trebilcook shared the rough outline for his script during an interview with What Culture, revealing a storyline that returns McClane to his roots while paying homage to his classic beginning.

"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," teased Trebilcook. "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."

In other words, we don't have to suffer through Willis acting as a pained straight man for Justin Long or watch him squabbling with Jai Courtney. As Trebilcook went on to elaborate, "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."

Repeat after us: YES. YES. YES.

Of course, plenty can change between now and whenever Die Hardest ends up blasting its way into theaters, but Trebilcook definitely has the right idea. All we can do is lament his non-involvement with the previous two Die Hard sequels, and grin at the mention of a very special guest appearance he has planned. "I’ve written Zeus Carver in for Samuel L. Jackson," he admitted, referencing Willis' foil for Die Hard with a Vengeance. "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."

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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