This news was probably inevitable, but like the romantic that I am I unfortunately held out hope just long enough for the truth to sting. The fourth film in the Jason Bourne series will be without its title character.
Per Hollywood Elsewhere, writer/director Tony Gilroy is guiding The Bourne Legacy along a storyline that does not feature Jason Bourne and therefore does not need Matt Damon. This point is important because Damon had previously sworn off any interest in a fourth film if Paul Greengrass wasn’t sitting in the director’s chair. Greengrass directed parts two and three but supposedly came into conflict with Universal during the production of Green Zone and decided to call it quits in regard to the Bourne series. Gilroy, of course, has been associated with all three films in the role of co-writer, and it was recently announced that he’d be taking the reigns on part four.
Gilroy says “This is not a reboot or a recast or a prequel. No one’s replacing Matt Damon. There will be a whole new hero, a whole new chapter…this is a stand-alone project.” To which I reply, why the hell does it need to be part of the Bourne series?
The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal,” Gilroy says. “Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he’s very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for what happens. I’m building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy…the world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s return [down the road]. Everything you saw in the first three films actually happened, and everyone who got into will be rewarded for paying attention. We’re going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas. When you see what we’re going and see what we’re doing it’ll be pretty obvious….but Jason Bourne’s actvities in the first three films is the immediate trigger.”
I’ll admit a minor interest in seeing what Gilroy has in mind here, but that’s only because he’s leaving the door open for an eventual return for Bourne/Damon. But otherwise this whole thing stinks of little more than a money grab. It’s not the same as a James Bond reboot, something that had been rumored previously with another actor simply taking over the Jason Bourne codename, so this is something entirely new.
As a huge fan of the series I’m not sure I’m all that interested in a Bourne-free version of a Bourne movie. And it’s not just because I have a killer Bourne IV script idea that would bring the man back with a vengeance on the most dangerous quest of all… the search for love. But what do you think? (About Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy, not my ideas on Bourne and Nicky sitting in a tree.)