In an unlikely turn of events, Matt Damon has decided to return to the role that made him an action star, Jason Bourne. He will reunite with acclaimed director Paul Greengrass whom he has collaborated with on two of the three previous instalments of the franchise. Damon had previously sworn off of involvement in another Bourne picture without the involvement of Greengrass. While Greengrass has related in the past that there is no further for the character of Bourne to go. Universal Pictures was so sure their partnership was over that they made a spinoff, The Bourne Legacy, which sets Jeremy Renner up as a new espionage hero for the studio. Well things have changed according to Deadline, which had the following report:
Greengrass told Deadline as recently as last year that once Bourne regained his memory, there was no place else for the character to go creatively. His search formed the spine for the trilogy Damon starred in. Well, they’ve figured it out. I’m told that the studio is so bullish on this that the intention is to make the reteam the next Bourne film to go into production to make the July 16, 2016, release slot that Universal had previously assigned to an untitled Bourne film. That means it would step in front of the spinoff sequel that is to reprise Jeremy Renner and be directed by Fast & Furious architect Justin Lin. That film, which began with the Tony Gilroy-directed The Bourne Legacy, remains in development. I thought its premise— Renner plays one of several genetically altered assassins, all of whom are targeted for death — was smart and satisfying on its own. Universal intends to continue that series and to broaden its franchise base, much the way that Marvel cranks out superhero films. The Bourne Legacy was a good start to a new franchise, but Jason Bourne is a hard act to follow. Now, franchise-hungry Universal has both of them.
This opens up a lucrative can of worms for Universal, who is essentially burdened with having two stars, for one elaborate franchise. It was assumed we would be getting another Renner led Bourne film in 2016, but it seems that the original team has, rightfully, bumped the newer incarnation further down the timeline. As Deadline notes, director Justin Lin has obligations to direct True Detective for HBO, so perhaps this works to everyone's benefit.
What is even more interesting, is if we will eventually end up getting both stars in one picture. It is actually mildly surprising that Renner wasn't included in the announcement as well, but maybe they will hold the line and navigate two parallel franchise storylines.
Regardless, it truly should be fun to see Damon and Greengrass return to the medium that they helped to redefine. Damon's efficient assassin combined with Greengrass' kinetic, yet documentary style approach to action should be fun to revisit. However, it does make one wonder why Damon hasn't tried to attach himself to another license while he still has a couple of miles in the tank. It would be fun to see him take a run at a well known comic or science-fiction project with his cerebral approach to making movies. Time will tell. Until then the world will have to settle for Bourne films and those have always delivered.
How do you feel about Damon and Greengrass' return to the Bourne franchise? Exciting or a few years too late? Let us know on the comment boards!
Sources: Point of Geeks, Deadline