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Though Matt Damon has still refused to rule out the possibility of reviving his character of Jason Bourne, for the time being he has handed the franchise over to Jeremy Renner, who will be leading next summer's The Bourne Legacy as a completely different character. Although reports at the time said that Renner's casting was the result of compromise, according to Damon, from the moment he and Paul Greengrass realized they wouldn't be making a fourth Bourne together, they said amongst themselves that Renner would be a perfect successor. No, really, he said it to MTV:

When Paul Greengrass and I were talking about the character and maybe doing a fourth one a couple years ago and maybe passing it off to somebody, Renner was the guy we talked about. He's an obvious choice, because he's such a good actor and can carry a movie.

Those movies are really tough, because you need the guy to be internally tortured about something, and Jeremy's the kind of guy you could watch.

It's hard to know exactly how genuine he's being-- did they really talk about Renner when they were fighting with the studio about whether they could get the movie made? But according to Damon when he finally met Renner, they didn't talk about Bourne at all, but just shot the shit, since "I'm a huge fan of his." Given Damon's well-earned reputation as a nice guy it's hard to imagine he's giving Renner a hard time, especially since as things stand now, Universal would drop everything to allow him to come back as Bourne. Damon won't be part of the next movie and claims he hasn't even read the script, but with all these nice things to say about his successor, it seems he's definitely leaving the door open for the future.

Before we find out of Damon can make his return, though, we have to see how The Bourne Legacy does for itself. Renner makes for a great action hero as second banana to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, but Renner will be going it alone in Legacy, which comes to theaters August 3 next year.