Paul Greengrass departed the Bourne series late last year on the heels of critical and commercial success directing The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Star Matt Damon is likely to bid farewell with him. That is undeniably a major blow to the franchise. But Universal maintained some continuity by getting Tony Gilroy, writer of the first three Bourne features, back on board. Gilroy was hired to write film number four (titled The Bourne Legacy) this summer, and earlier this week landed the director’s chair as well.
Gilroy felt the initial reports required clarification, and he was happy to go on the record to do so. Hit the break for Gilroy’s take on what he calls “a standalone project,” which will apparently not feature the character Jason Bourne at all.
Gilroy got on the phone with Hollywood Elsewhere to elaborate on the pitch. Notably, the film is snatching the title from the Eric Van Lustbader book The Bourne Legacy, but plans to leave the story within be. Gilroy explained,
“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.”
Interesting. But the title still prominently features the name “Bourne.” The character Jason Bourne (and by extension the work of Damon) will not be erased from the mythology of the series, but he is no longer a central character. At least not in Legacy:
“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].
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.”
So apparently Bourne’s “legacy,” as it were, is a litany of plot points. I joke: this actually sounds intriguing. I’ve enjoyed a fair share of Gilroy’s scripts over the last decade, and Michael Clayton convinced me of his directing chops. He’s got his work cut out for him, trying to extend a franchise without its star. But I’m rooting for him.
I suppose the next step is casting this “whole new hero.” We know literally nothing about the character, so you’re really free to throw out any suggestion you’d like, unbound by age , gender, or race. With that in mind, anyone else feeling Zoe Saldana? (Might as well dreamcast a franchise-friendly non-white non-male with an action presence.)