Jason Bourne is back, as the fifth film in the Bourne franchise and the fourth starring Matt Damon hits theaters this weekend. It is a return for both Damon and director Paul Greengrass to the world of former super-assassin/amnesiac Jason Bourne, which could be enough to satisfy fans of series. Whether or not there is much to add to Bourne’s story, this film will at least provide a chance to see more wild car chases and random inanimate objects used as deadly weapons.
There is an element in the Bourne franchise that some may be curious about and that is Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross character, introduced in the previous series entry, 2012’s The Bourne Legacy. While that film was not a proper hit (audiences and critics were both lukewarm overall), it is now an aspect of the story that is basically lingering out there, while the gears have shifted back towards the one true Bourne. Fortunately, Greengrass decided to be quite forthcoming about why Renner’s character is nowhere to be seen in the new Bourne film.
Discussed during an interview with Cinemablend, Greengrass made it very clear that the character was never considered. He stated:
“Never a consideration for this project. Jeremy [Renner] is a great actor. I just wanted to tell a Jason Bourne story. That’s all I wanted to tell, and that was all I was going to make. As for what happens in the future, frankly that’s not my job.”
Many have speculated about the potential of a Bourne/Cross team-up in the past and whether or not that would be a good idea. Some of the main complaints about this upcoming Bourne film concern the lack of much effort to mix up the story all that much, which could be resolved in some way by combining these characters. However, it seems quite clear that Greengrass and Damon wanted to work together again and had an idea for a pure Bourne story, with no Renners allowed. Writer/director Tony Gilroy, who was responsible for The Bourne Legacy, has no involvement with this film, which makes sense given the reports of many disagreements between him and Greengrass, during the producing of The Bourne Ultimatum.
The idea of bringing Cross and Bourne together sounds kind of fun, but at the same time, the idea of Bourne having to rely on a partner takes away from some of the core themes surrounding these films. While it is one thing for a Bourne plot to involve protecting someone, giving him an equal partner means doing away with the character’s isolation and solitary nature. This is what helps make Bourne an interesting character to watch and while it may mean Damon only has so many lines of dialogue, it is what sets him apart from the likes of James Bond or Ethan Hunt.
Four movies in for Damon though and some can wonder whether or not it is time for a significant change in how these movies are handled. After all, Jason Bourne largely feels like a film that remakes elements from the first sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, with new locations and a shuffling around of characters. Since Greengrass decided to add a statement about the future being up in the air, maybe it is only a matter of time to see a return of the Renner.
Jason Bourne opens in U.S. theaters July 29, 2016.