The last we heard about the fourth film in the Bourne franchise, is that it was definitely in the works with star Matt Damon and Supermacy/Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass coming back for another go at it. This will be the first film in the series not based in any way on one of the Robert Ludlum books, so they'll be working from a completely original script this time around.
The shooting for the film was reportedly set to start this summer, with a release of summer 2010 in sight. As it turns out, that isn't the case - producer Frank Marshall has let us know via Twitter that there should be a first draft due in by this summer, and that the target date for release of the film is now summer 2011.
So that gives them a good amount of time to get all of the related people's schedules cleared for all the work it's undoubtedly going to take to make another one of these movies. If a draft is said to be done by this summer, that gives them a fair amount of time to re-write as needed, and hopefully/logically they should be shooting by, at the latest, autumn next year. Then of course they will have a few months to get all of the post-production done in time for summer 2011.
Marshall admits that these scripts (whether he means in general or any Bourne ones) take a long time from simply getting a very first draft done to what will be put onto screen. Bourne is an example of an action franchise that's not just about brainless action sequences and cheesy one-liners - this is one of the few modern action series' that truly gives us action and brains. I hope they continue that with this one, even if they have no original source material to base it on (although I've heard from a lot of people that they didn't stick very close to the original books with the first three, either).
Speaking of the script, Marshall stated that it's being written by Ultimatum and Ocean's Twelve screenwriter George Nolfi, and he has also said before that he'd like to see Bourne head to South America for his next set of escapades.
When I first saw The Bourne Ultimatum, I was absolutely adamant that they leave it at that - to me it was a perfectly ambiguous closing off of a series that had told all that it needed to. But then word came of a possible fourth film, and I had to reconsider my initially closed-minded thoughts. The more I thought about them doing another one, the more I liked the idea, especially since they're bringing back the main star (which is the most crucial thing in my eyes) and the fantastic, talented director of the second and third.
Although there were eight books written in total, only the first three were written by Robert Ludlum, which is probably why they are going with an original screenplay as opposed to just working off a non-Ludlum written fourth book. Since Nolfi was partly responsible for Ultimatum's screenplay (alongside Tony Gilroy and Scott Z. Burns), I have every faith in him that he'll come up with a great original screenplay for the fourth one.
I just wonder that if this fourth installment is as successful as the first three were (particularly the third), will they go ahead with even more sequels after that? It's certainly within the realm of possibility - and if it's warranted after this fourth one, I see no reason why they shouldn't make a lot more.
Are you a fan of the Bourne series? Do you think there should be a fourth film, and even more after that?
Until we hear otherwise, Bourne 4 has an expected release date of summer 2011.