What Die Hard Teaches Us About How To Make A Sequel

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There are a lot of different methods of putting together a sequel (or three), with results ranging from the better-than-the-original to the eye-meltingly terrible. But does Die Hard, and its seemingly unending series of sequels, have a lesson to teach us about how to plan a sequel?

In response to the news that the I Am Legend prequel was actually going to be made from an unrelated script, retro-fitted to Will Smith's lonely, vampire-filled dystopia, a discussion began about another series that took a disconnected approach to building sequels: Die Hard.


Die Hard pulled this off successfully for a long time: Taking unrelated novels/scripts and turning them into a Die Hard sequel. The only time they actually had someone draft a full-on "DIE HARD MOVIE" from scratch? We got fucking A Good Day to Die Hard, the worst thing to happen to the whole franchise.

So this could actually be very beneficial. Sometimes it's better to translate an already-good script to a property rather than having someone craft a new story from the ground-up that's all based around the conventions and established situations of said property.


Though other commenters noted that, even if the stories shifted around a bit, there was still able to bring continuity through the characters, which the Will Smith-less Legend prequel would be without:


They pulled it off successfully by having that "Die Hard" guy in every movie. Bruce Willis tied them together, and he brought enough humour to even out the rough/unbelievable bits.

Without the lead actor, the only connection for the Legend movies will be the vampires, and they... weren't good.

The cow is not allowed

Yeah, but the Die Hard movies were all able to get Bruce Willis.

Though it's hilarious that Die Hard itself was originally pitched as a sequel to Arnold Schwarzeneggar's Commando, and was supposed to be a sequel to Frank Sinatra's The Detective before that. So I guess it worked that time, but probably turning a dubious sequel into a stand-alone film has a better success rate than turning stand-alone films into dubious sequels.


What do you look for in a sequel? Do you want the plot threads from the last movie wrapped up or is it enough just to revisit a world or its characters? Tell us about the sequels that got it right and the ones that got it wrong — and how they did it — in the comments.