When we spoke with Matt Damon this summer at Comic-Con, he expressed his love of of his Bourne Legacy replacement Jeremy Renner as an actor, and said that he and director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) had been mulling over the idea of returning to the series on the one condition that they had a worthwhile story to tell.

This was (and still is) producer Frank Marshall’s dream, to have him and Renner team-up and see their characters work together on screen for Bourne 5. For Damon however, he’s much more doubtful.

With The Bourne Legacy now in existence, Damon feels the continuity may be difficult to retain (especially the ‘pill popping’ plot) going forward, and more importantly, he’s unsure of what stories about Bourne and his identity are left to tell. In Damon’s opinion, Jason Bourne isn’t a character who’d team up with someone so fitting together his and Renner’s Aaron Cross characters – as much as he praises Renner – is more difficult than it seems.

In chatting with Deadline for the upcoming Promised Land, Damon reiterated that The Bourne Legacy makes it more difficult for the Jason Bourne character to return. What would it take to see Bourne on screen in the films named after him?

“Just a couple things, really. Paul Greengrass has to want to do it, and secondly and equally important, it comes down to Paul and I knowing what the hell we want to do. We just don’t have a story, and we haven’t had one. I quietly went to Jonah Nolan, because he and his brother Chris did such a brilliant job on Batman and that whole mythology. I just said, can you put your brain on this? I can’t figure it out. And he took a run at it and he couldn’t crack it either. Paul and I have been talking about it for years. And we can’t quite see what the movie would be. If we could get line of sight on that…”

Not even Jonathan Nolan could come up with a Bourne story that satisfied Damon, but that doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. If it does, Paul Greengrass will likely need to be back in the director’s chair.

“Neither of us is against it. I would love to do another one. I love that character. To me, the reason to make that movie is because people want to see it. Paul and I have said that to each other. We don’t take for granted the fact that we’ve built an audience for Bourne, that’s a real privilege. But our part of that bargain is that the movie is good and belongs with the other three. Until we can deliver that, we just can’t make it.”

To compare worldwide success:

  • The Bourne Identity: $214,034,224
  • The Bourne Supremacy: $288,500,217
  • The Bourne Ultimatum: $442,824,138
  • The Bourne Legacy: $276,144,750

Not only did The Bourne Legacy take a significant dip at the box office, but it was the only film of the four to not get above 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, instead earning quite a bit of negative buzz with a 56%. By comparison, Paul Greengrass’ & Matt Damon’s last Bourne (Ultimatum) scored at 94%.

Understandably, Damon’s feelings towards the franchise in its new direction are mixed at best, but Universal Pictures is moving ahead with more Bourne films, with or without Damon. For fans, having the two protagonists come together for another Bourne thriller would be the ultimate payoff, and for the studio, that’d bring with it the biggest payoff at the box office as well.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Deadline