Air Force One writer talks the sequel that never happened

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Andrew W Marlowe, the writer of 1997 action-thriller Air Force One, has talked about the sequel ideas that never came to pass.


Almost three decades on, “Get off my plane” remains one of the best, most gloriously silly lines in action cinema. But according to the man who wrote it – Andrew W Marlowe – it nearly didn’t make it into the script at all.

“I was always concerned that the line was a little cheesy, so I was like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna think of something better,'” he told SyFy in a new interview.

“And then I didn’t and when Harrison performed it, it turned out just to be pitch perfect for the character. Harrison really took ink on paper and breathed enormous life into it, so that it even reverberates today.”

“You never know what lines are gonna become iconic.”

For a film routinely cited alongside Die Hard and Speed as one of the best action movies of the eighties and nineties, it’s pretty surprising that an enterprising executive somewhere hasn’t put an Air Force Two into production. According to Marlowe, however, that isn’t for lack of trying – it’s just hard to get a good story in place.

“People have talked about it, people are still talking about it. I think we’re in a period of time when, if you’ve had something that’s extraordinarily successful, people want to see if they can mine that IP,” he said.

“Harrison as president goes someplace, he’s on an Air Force carrier, it’s attacked, he’s in the middle of an unstable geopolitical situation. And so, there are things he can and can’t do, because you don’t want to inflame it. He’s got to navigate it and he’s the person at the heart of it. There are many variations on it and with the tuning fork, we didn’t get it to the point where we are all like, ‘Ah, that’s perfect! We’re not repeating the first movie. We’re building on it.'”

Marlowe is very open in the interview about the film’s Die Hard inspirations, but it seems like he and the rest of the team took some pretty responsible lessons from the long-running series.

“[But] there are always challenges with that [kind of] franchise. You get into the Die Hard problem of every time John McClane goes on vacation or goes anywhere, the terrorists take over. So we were very cautious.”

There’s also undoubtedly a bit of an elephant in the room where the reputation of the US government, and the Presidency in particular, is concerned.

“I think our bar is, ‘Are we saying something new? Are we saying something relevant to the culture now?’ We don’t want to do something that’s just exploitative storytelling, we want to do something that feels like it has a purpose in the world.” 

“When we were doing it, the presidency and that position was not as politically charged as it is today. And so, I think that there are specific challenges about doing it in the contemporary climate that we would have to figure out.”

Then again, we’d pay good money to see Glenn Close’s Vice President fight small-time crooks on a budget airliner. Maybe we should get Marlowe on the phone…

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