“You never want to see that”: Original Die Hard 3 Ending Nearly Turned Bruce Willis into a Psychopath

Original Die Hard 3 Ending Nearly Turned Bruce Willis into a Psychopath
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Action star of the 90s, actor Bruce Willis became internationally known for his role as the badass cop John McClane in the action franchise Die Hard. He starred in the franchise which began in 1988, all the way till 2013 when the series’ fifth film A Good Day to Die Hard.


While all of the films may not have received equal critical acclaim, the films have been commercial successes. One of the sequels which is still appreciated to this day is the third film of the franchise Die Hard with a Vengeance. The cult classic was actually supposed to have a different ending, which would have portrayed Willis as a brutal psychopath and would have changed the franchise forever. There will be spoilers ahead.

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How Does Bruce Willis’ Die Hard With A Vengeance End?

A still from Die Hard with a Vengence
A still from Die Hard with a Vengeance

Bruce Willis was propelled from being a sitcom actor to an action star with the phenomenal Die Hard. Willis’ honest cop who foils a hostage situation was wildly successful. The film was also a commercial success and led to many Die Hard-inspired action films. The film was so recognized that subsequent action films, for example, Keanu Reeves’ Speed were described as ‘Die Hard on a Bus’.

The original led to four sequels, with the third film Die Hard with a Vengeance being regarded as a cult classic. The film saw a familiar name Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons playing the brother of Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber from the first film) who has planted several bombs in New York City while planning a heist. Bruce Willis’ John McClane teams up with Samuel L. Jackson’s Zeus Carver to stop the terrorists.

The original ending of Die Hard with a Vengeance sees the rest of Gruber’s henchmen being apprehended while Gruber and his girlfriend Katya try to escape in a helicopter. McClane shoots up a powerline which falls on the chopper, causing it to fall and explode, thus killing Gruber. Willis’ McClane is not directly responsible for the death of Simon Gruber.


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What Was The Alternative Ending To Die Hard 3?

Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis

The third film of the Die Hard franchise has a lasting legacy. While no sequel has come close to the first film, Die Hard with a Vengeance has been regarded as one of the better entries in the franchise. In fact, Jeremy Irons’ Simon Gruber even got a shout-out from Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Jake Peralta, a massive fan of the franchise.

However, it is doubtful whether this legacy would have persisted if the makers had gone for the original ending of the film. Screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh revealed in the commentary for the film that there was an alternative ending that was not only written but also filmed. This ending would have portrayed John McClane as a ruthless killer, thus changing the image. 


According to the screenwriter, this ending reportedly saw McClane and Gruber meeting much later in Hungary as the former tracks him down. McClane plays a form of Russian roulette with Gruber, much like the ‘Simon Says’ game the antagonist has been playing throughout the film, albeit with a rocket launcher. The film ends with Gruber being killed by the rocket launcher, while McClane escapes death.

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Jeremy Irons in Die Hard with a Vengence
Jeremy Irons in Die Hard with a Vengeance

This scene would have made Bruce Willis’ John McClane directly responsible for Gruber’s death, giving a more psychopathic edge to the character. Willis was reportedly not happy with this ending and chose the former as it was not a ‘Die Hard ending’. He said to Entertainment Weekly,


“I remember on the third one, Die Hard with a Vengeance, we reshot the ending – which I predicted, not that I’m smart or anything, I just knew that the ending that we were going with wasn’t a Die Hard ending. It wouldn’t satisfy the audience when they said ‘One Year Later’ at the end – you never want to see that.”

The makers were probably right as the film went on to earn over $366 million at the box office and was the highest-grossing film of the year.

Also read:“I’m sorry you are living this story too”: Bruce Willis’ Wife Wins Hearts as She Tries to Help Fans While Going Through a Painful Journey Herself

Source: Entertainment Weekly


Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 1153

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 1,000 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.