There were a few unanswered questions following last week's news that Tony Gilroy would be directing the next instalment in the Bourne franchise. Thanks to Hollywood Elsewhere though, we now have clarification: Matt Damon will certainly not be returning for The Bourne Legacy.
That's not because the role of superspy Jason Bourne is being re-cast. It's because Bourne isn't in the film at all. "No one's replacing Matt Damon," says Gilroy, the writer of all the Bournes so far and director of the ace Michael Clayton. "There will be a whole new hero."
If that doesn't chime with what you think you know about The Bourne Legacy, it's possibly because the film will have nothing to do with Eric Van Lustbader's novel (the fourth in the series; Lustbader continued the novels after Robert Ludlum's death). Lustbader's Legacy involved Bourne, some Chechen terrorists and a bacteriological weapon, but Gilroy says that, "It's a completely original screenplay, and we will not be using that story."
Thankfully though, we don't seem to be looking at a Next Generation or a Son of Bourne. Gilroy insists that, "This is not a reboot, it's a whole new chapter. The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal. 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 The Bourne Legacy, and everyone who got into them will be rewarded for paying attention. I'm building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy."
"We're going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas," Gilroy says, and concludes, tantalisingly, "The world we're making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne's reappearance somewhere down the road..."
Jason Bourne will return. Eventually.