Through three films, vague connections to one spin-off, and a nine year hiatus, Jason Bourne has been as hard to kill as the man that gave the film its title. For a while, it seemed that we'd never get another film out of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass' incarnation of the Robert Ludlum franchise, but fortune smiled on us all and gave us a film we're still anxious to see open next Friday. However, our excitement cannot compare to that of Universal's, as the studio is emboldened to keep this train rolling for as long as humanly possible, and they're not shy about it either.
A pretty comprehensive profile piece on the genesis of Jason Bourne ran recently in The New York Times, and it covered the reticence of both Damon and Greengrass to return, as well the tenacity of their studio colleagues who wanted them back. Most notable was a remark made by Universal Studios' chairwoman, the aptly named Donna Langley, who believes that as far as the Bourne series is concerned, the game plan goes as follows:
Look, here's what I think the goal is: to keep Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass doing Bourne movies till they can't do them anymore.
When your studio has had a year like Universal did in 2015, and you've got enough clout to bring back Damon and Greengrass back for a film they never thought or intended to make, you tend to want to keep that golden goose in the egg laying business. So Langley's remarks about keeping the franchise in play until it's no longer a viable option aren't all that surprising. However, this doesn't mean that Universal will get its wish, as there are still a lot of variables to worry about when it comes to Jason Bourne. The most important unknown, of course, is whether the public that used to make the series one of the most bankable properties in Hollywood are as eager to see it return after such an absence.
As common logic would dictate, the longer a sequel takes to produce, the worse it tends to be. It may not be scientific, but it's enough to cause fans to worry before going to see a film like Jason Bourne. Nine years isn't exactly the same type of wait that Tron Legacy has incurred, with 28 years spanning between films, but it's still enough of a period to put the Bourne franchise's future in doubt. Though a close proximity sequel / spin-off didn't exactly work either, as The Bourne Legacy was a pretty big disappointment in its 2012 release - only a mere five years after The Bourne Ultimatum capped off the original trilogy.
When the dust has cleared, and the bottom line is exposed, both Jason Bourne and Aaron Cross's futures depend on this film's success. Here's hoping the wait has been worth it, as we only have to wait until July 29th to see Jason Bourne return to his extreme ways in theaters.