Poor Matt Damon‘s got to be somewhat sick of answering questions about the Jason Bourne series, a franchise he’s ostensibly not in any more. Or at least, not for now. In case you’re living under a rock, Damon and Paul Greengrass walked away from a “Bourne 4” in late 2009 for several reasons, but one of them being a chief creative one: Jason Bourne had discovered who he was, no longer had full amnesia and his story arc had been completed.
No one seemed to know where to take the story next and after commissioning two different screenplays, that neither the actor nor director liked, the duo said thanks, but no thanks. So fast forward to present day. Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter who masterminded the entire trilogy, stepped up, conceived of a new idea without Jason Bourne, created “The Bourne Legacy,” and found a new star in Jeremy Renner (‘Legacy’ deals with the ramifications of “The Bourne Ultimatum” and how it affects other Treadstone-like Black Ops programs and its assassins). While Jason Bourne, the charater is still alive and referenced in “The Bourne Legacy,” outside of mug-shot photos, he’s not in it, presumably gone into hiding somewhere. Gilroy and Universal have left the door open for Damon to return.
And as he’s always said, Damon is open to returning to the franchise, if, and that big if, is if there’s a good script. “Look, I’ve been interested in doing another one for five years,” Damon said during the “Elysium” panel at Comic-Con, sounding somewhat annoyed at Crave for suggesting he’d suddenly changed his mind. “We just can’t figure out the script. I’m up for it, but again it’s all about the script, It’s got to be a good one.”
In a separate interview with ComingSoon, Damon reiterated the same sentiment, and again, stressed the story has to justify its existence and there cannot simply be a sequel for sequel’s sake. “I really want to do another one and I think Paul Greengrass does too,” he said, “But I think it’s the same question we’ve had after each one. If we really feel we can do it and that it will deserve to live with the other three that we did. If we can make one where we go into it feeling it can be even better than those, and it ends up being in that same ballpark, then we should do it. But If we can’t, then we really should leave it alone.”
OK, so check, two interviews of what Damon has said all along since he and Greengrass walked away from the series. But in a separate interview with E!Online in San Diego, Damon suggested that if “The Bourne Legacy” breaks out in its own right, Gilroy and Renner could ostensibly move on without him.
“I think the movie will be really good,” Damon said of this new ‘Bourne’ iteration. “Tony [Gilroy] is really smart, he’s a really good writer and a really good director and I’m sure he made a good movie. The question will be if they can franchise that movie, because if they can, then they’ll be done with me. They’ll just keep making those.”
And franchising the new series is definitely the plan, something that Gilroy confirmed to us in an interview last month that will roll out closer to August 10th when “The Bourne Legacy” hits theaters. But perhaps Damon is just being modest. If “The Bourne Legacy” is a huge hit, he’s probably correct that the series can move on without him. But surely throngs of fans of the series would love to see Jason Bourne return one day. Like longtime ‘Bourne’ series producer Frank Marshall said, his “dream” is to have a Bourne film that stars both Renner and Damon.
That may be easier said than done considering the past friction between Damon and Gilroy, not to mention the fact Damon’s gone on record several times saying he’ll only make another ‘Bourne’ film with director Paul Greengrass. But if ‘Legacy’ is a hit, and Gilroy then owns the keys to the franchise, how does Damon step back in? And why would Gilroy step aside, take momentum away from his own new trilogy, just so Damon and Greengrass can tell their own story? Complicated stuff to say the least. One thing’s for sure, if ‘Legacy’ is a hit and Damon wants to return (something Universal would be over the moon about), there’s going to have to be a serious come to Jesus moment by a lot of parties involved.