Never say never, never say die. If you’re keeping score like we have—or feel obligated to do so—you’ll know Matt Damon keeps playing with our heart and toying with our emotions. The actor has essentially said, Jason Bourne is done, the character has finished his arc, and he’s even talked smack about the screenwriter Tony Gilroy and then quickly retracted it.
When Paul Greengrass walked away from the series after “The Bourne Ultimatum,” Damon walked too. But because he’s a nice guy and because the media keeps asking, Damon has been far less resolute about the fate of Jason Bourne returning to the series as played by Matt Damon. He’s basically left the ball in Paul Greengrass’ court and said, if he does it, I’ll do it (though knowing fully well that he and Greengrass already tried to make a fourth ‘Jason Bourne’ film and then walked away from it when they couldn’t come up with a good enough idea to keep the story going). But very recently he’s also suggested since there is a new ‘Bourne’ series with Jeremy Renner as the lead, they don’t really need his character anymore. He even punctuated that comment, saying the events of the “The Bourne Legacy” made it difficult for his character to even ever return (2013 reports that Paul and he were returning to the series proved to be false).
So after a lot of maybes and “if” we had a good script, Damon seemed to be finally putting a definitive no on ‘Bourne.’ But another day, another feeling. Damon recently talked to CNBC and kept the door open again in the same manner he always has: he’s open to it if Paul returns, if we have a good script, etc.
“I’ve always been open to it if Paul Greengrass is the director and … we’ve just never been able to come up with a story,” he explained yet again. “It felt like such a good way to end it the last time, but having said that I love that character… and I’d love to see what happened to him.” In short, well, don’t hold your breath unless Greengrass and Damon really need a hit badly and change their minds. Greengrass has moved on to other things and as long as Damon puts his participation in the series on Greengrass (who swears he’ll never make another one) that’s really the perfect scapegoat reason for him never to return.
But as we know, never say never. Maybe one day ‘Bourne’ series producer Frank Marshall will fulfill his “dream” of a Bourne film that stars both Renner and Damon. In the meantime, thanks to the only so-so success of “The Bourne Legacy,” Universal has taken the franchise in an anti-auteur driven direction (aka, let’s finally make some real money off this thing): Justin Lin of “Fast & Furious 6” is directing, Anthony Peckham (“Sherlock Holmes”) is writing the screenplay, and ‘Bourne’ screenwriting architect Tony Gilroy has also moved on. If these two new filmmakers feel very un-‘Bourne’ to you, well you’d be right to feel that way. You’ll find out in the summer of 2015.