With the announcement that Tony Gilroy would be directing the fourth installment of the Jason Bourne franchise on Monday, there was one question on everyone's mind: what about Matt Damon? Dating back to February, Damon told members of the press (including myself) that he would not be returning without director Paul Greengrass and Greengrass was interested in doing something else. Apparently, Gilroy, as both the writer and the director, has found a way around this problem by not having Jason Bourne as a character.
Hollywood Elsewhere recently spoke with Gilroy who said that the character of Jason Bourne would lot play a role in the new film, titled The Bourne Legacy. While sharing a title with the book by Eric Van Lustbader (the first in the series after original writer Robert Ludlum's death), they will not be in anyway the same plot wise will have an entirely new lead character. Said Gilroy,
"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]."
Gilroy then went on to shoot down labels that have been attached to the film, including "reboot", "recast" and "prequel." He continued by saying that the events in the first three films will have an impact on the world in the new film.
"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."
I can appreciate the desire to sedate fans by explaining that the new film won't trample over the first three, but how exactly do they plan on getting an actor as high-caliber as Matt Damon? They may have different names, different histories and different personalities, but there is absolutely no way that the new character won't be compared to Jason Bourne, and those are some tough shoes to fill. While I can appreciate the effort and recognize Gilroy as a talent whose contribution made the first three films great, I simply don't see a reason why this new film has to be made.