Jason Bourne will not only see Matt Damon return to his famous role as the film’s namesake for the first time in nine years, but also the acclaimed Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass, back at the helm. The movie is expected to function as more of a sequel to Ultimatum than a continuation of the 2012 “side-quel”/spinoff The Bourne Legacy, featuring Jeremy Renner as Bourne’s fellow government operative-gone rogue, Aaron Cross; and Damon has likewise described Jason Bourne as being a conclusion to the original Bourne Identity film trilogy, above all else.
Universal Pictures released a TV spot for Jason Bourne back during the 2016 Super Bowl, though a proper theatrical trailer for the film has yet to be unveiled (at the time of writing this). That Jason Bourne trailer will no doubt shed a bit more light on the storyline for the movie, but in the meantime everyone will have to be satisfied with the few plot hints and clues that Damon and Greengrass are wiling to offer.
So far, it’s a given that Jason Bourne has successfully remained “off the grid” since the events of Bourne Ultimatum – which, lest we forget, actually took place back in 2004, concurrently with events in Bourne Supremacy – prior to the events of the upcoming fifth Bourne film series installment. Greengrass avoided going into specifics on the matter when he was interviewed by EW, but he did provide the following tease about what Bourne’s been up to all that time:
“He’s been in the shadows of Europe. He’s been active and he’s been doing hard physical work. Definitely not sunning himself on the beach.”
Damon has similarly teased that Jason Bourne has spent the past twelve years (read: the amount of time that’s passed in the Bourne film universe since Ultimatum) living a difficult lifestyle, in order to make sure that he stays below the radar of not just the U.S., but the European government too. The first official image from the Jason Bourne showed Damon looking appropriately lean and ripped for someone who’s been doing “hard physical work” for twelve years straight, and Greengrass noted to EW that this further illustrates his and Damon’s commitment to making another worthwhile addition to the Bourne franchise here:
“You don’t make a movie unless you’re 1000 percent committed to make the best movie we can, and you don’t make this kind of movie unless you think it can be a worthy successor to the other movies we made. That phenomenal Jason Bourne shape was a segment of intent.”
Damon’s commitment to making sure Jason Bourne is a quality Bourne installment goes beyond working out too, as he was also involved in developing the movie’s story and script with Greengrass. (Some Bourne fans are no doubt aware that Damon, who is an Oscar-winning screenwriter after all, likewise did uncredited screenplay work on the original Bourne trilogy.) Similar to how the first three Bourne films explored post-9/11 anxieties and U.S. political issues during the 2000s, Damon has indicated that he and Greengrass are using Jason Bourne as a way to explore concerns about government surveillance and invasion of privacy in the present-day – or, as Damon has put it, in the “post-[Edward] Snowden world.”
That combination of compelling subject matter and more scenes of Bourne-style fast-paced action/thrills suggests that Jason Bourne has the potential to not only be another noteworthy addition to the Bourne series in general, but also a more satisfying continuation of the Bourne universe for those who were disappointed by Bourne Legacy‘s approach to expanding the franchise. Damon and Greengrass will be added in their efforts by an impressive cast that includes franchise newcomers in Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) and Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), as well as Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) and Julia Stiles reprising her role as Nicky Parsons from the previous Bourne films.
Jason Bourne opens in U.S. theaters on July 29th, 2016.