When it was announced last week that Tony Gilroy would be taking over the Bourne franchise from Paul Greengrass, there were some questions about Matt Damon’s involvement in the movie. He had promised not to appear in a Bourne sequel if Greengrass wasn’t directing, and I wondered if this was the studio’s attempt at calling Damon’s bluff. If Damon didn’t acquiesce, would they replace the Bourne character with another actor, or would the studio simply cancel the project?
Neither, it seems. Tony Gilroy will make The Bourne Legacy without either Matt Damon or the Bourne character. Indeed, while the title of the movie is taken from a Robert Ludlum novel, the actual story has nothing to do with it. But it won’t be a reboot; it’s a continuation of the series, only without its namesake. Said Gilroy to Jeff Wells:
It’s a completely original screenplay….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…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].
Great idea, Gilroy. Take away the one thing that’s most attractive about the franchise: Matt Damon. Brilliant.
All I’m saying is: I hope the DVD cover has really good art, because this is going to be one very expensive straight-to-DVD sequel.