By Jeff Labrecque
Updated July 30, 2020 at 05:38 PM EDT

Image Credit: Jasin BolandWith Universal’s decision to hire Bourne screenwriter Tony Gilroy to write and direct The Bourne Legacy, it momentarily seemed as if the studio had a promising strategy to lure Matt Damon back for a fourth Bourne film. Though the actor had expressed his reluctance unless Supremacy and Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass was involved, Gilroy seemed like the one guy who might tempt Damon to reconsider. Not only was Gilroy a co-architect of the Bourne universe, but he had masterfully directed Damon’s Ocean’s Eleven pal, George Clooney, in the Oscar-nominated Michael Clayton. But in an interview with, Gilroy explained that retaining Damon wasn’t the plan at all. “Jason Bourne will not be in this film,” Gilroy said. “What happened in the first three films is the trigger for what happens [in Legacy]…[T]he world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s return [down the road.]”

Consider me crestfallen. The world of Jason Bourne was not really extraordinarily fascinating: Treadstone? Blackbriar? It was Jason Bourne himself, in particular his internal struggle to come to terms with his deadly past, that made the trilogy compelling. We were increasingly invested in the character’s journey, illustrated by the fact that each film performed better financially than the previous one. In June, when we asked readers if they were interested in a Bourne film that didn’t star Matt Damon, 73 percent said nyet. Plugging another dashing assassin into the void seems to me like a futile and thankless task that will succeed only in raising Damon’s asking price for the fifth Bourne adventure. Then again, James Bond has persevered through multiple casting changes over the years, so perhaps Universal and Gilroy are following a proven gameplan after all.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Do you have any interest in revisiting Bourne’s world of black ops without the man himself? Does Bourne 4 have the potential to be the U.S. Marshals of this franchise? (My apologies for reminding you about that huh? sequel to The Fugitive.)

Read more:

Tony Gilroy in final negotiations for Bourne 4

Paul Greengrass won’t direct Bourne 4