Why no Jason Bourne in Bourne 4 may be a good thing . . .
We have known for quite awhile that there will be a fourth film in the Jason Bourne franchise, and for almost as long we have known that Matt Damon(Good Will Hunting, The Departed) and Director Paul Greengrass(The Green Zone, United 93) won’t be returning. This has led to wild speculation about what form The Bourne Legacy will take. We had heard rumors of everything from recasting Jason Bourne to a prequel of the Damon films or even a complete reboot. Last week we finally got some concrete information when it was announced that Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, Duplicity) would be returning as writer and would be taking over the directing duties as well.
Over the weekend Gilroy talked to Hollywood Elsewhere to clarify that this wouldn’t be a reboot so much as a spinoff/sequel. "It's a completely original screenplay." Secondly, "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”.
"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 activities in the first three films is the immediate trigger."
Now it may seem like madness (or a cynical cash-in) to make a Bourne movie without Jason Bourne, but the more I think about it, this could really lead to something special. For starters I have faith in Tony Gilroy. Michael Clayton is such a great tension filled character piece with a cool 70’s vibe; I can completely imagine him making a 3 Days of the Condor type espionage flick. I love that we may actually get a series with ongoing continuity. In the next few years we are going to have Spiderman and Superman reboots, a possible Mad-max relaunch, an X-Men prequel/spin-off/reboot/re-imagining and after just two outings it’s possible we may have seen the last of Daniel Craig as Bond. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of franchises building on one another as opposed to just remaking and reimaging the same movies over and over. There are only so many times you can reheat pizza.
As far as I am concerned there is no downside to this. If it works this will give us the only possibility of Damon returning to the part for future films. If it doesn’t work we have the original trilogy which feels self contained anyhow. If they were to cast a young up and comer as Bourne they would have been painted into a corner and the Matt Damon door would be closed. So snicker all you want, I’m excited about the prospect of the Bourneless Bourne flick. What do you guys think?