Matt Damon will be popping up on movie screens frequently during the next couple of years, with his role in Ridley Scott's The Martian this fall, as well as possible turns in The Great Wall and Alexander Payne's Downsizing. However, the project most moviegoers will have their eyes on is the actor's much-celebrated return to the Bourne franchise.
A couple of months ago, Damon confirmed that both he and director Paul Greengrass would be returning to the series in which they achieved much critical and commercial acclaim during the mid-to-late 2000s. At the time, it was announced that the new film was taking the place of the previously scheduled Bourne Legacy followup (starring Jeremy Renner, directed by Justin Lin) on July 15, 2016, but now Universal has pushed the film back two weeks.
The "Untitled Next Bourne Chapter" is now slated for release on July 29, 2016, a date that was recently vacated when Fox decided to push back Planet of the Apes 3 to July 2017. All in all, this shift should benefit Universal from a commercial perspective, as it gives Bourne 5 a larger cushion from Lin's Star Trek 3, which will be arriving July 8, 2016.
In addition to the new release date, we also know who will be responsible for penning the screenplay. ComingSoon is reporting that Greengrass, Damon, and Christopher Rouse will team up on the script, meaning that this will mark the first time Tony Gilroy does not have a hand in writing a Bourne feature.
Damon, famously, received an Academy Award for writing Good Will Hunting with Ben Affleck, but since that time his screenwriting credits have been scarce, and, for films that were not as well-recieved as his Oscar-winning work (Gerry, Promised Land). Still, Damon does have the ability to knock out a solid screenplay and given that he's maintained all along he wouldn't return to the world of Jason Bourne unless the story was good, it's a positive sign that he's involved with the creative process.
The same can be said for Greengrass and Rouse. In the case of the latter, Bourne 5 will be the first script he writes; but Rouse has made a name for himself as an award-winning editor with numerous collaborations with Greengrass (including the filmmaker's two forays into the Bourne series). So it's safe to say that he has an understanding of what makes the movies work and will be able to deliver on the story. As for Greengrass, he's written some of his directorial projects (most recently the Oscar-nominated United 93), so he has experience in screenplays as well.
In regards to the narrative that the trio have in mind, that's anyone's guess for now. Many fans are hoping to see Damon's Bourne and Renner's Aaron Cross cross paths eventually, but that most likely won't happen for a while. Series producer Frank Marshall has previously said that the franchise is currently on "two tracks," meaning that Greengrass' latest installment and the impending Legacy sequel are separate projects and there are no plans for a crossover as of now. Time will tell, of course, but it seems as if we'll have to make do with Damon for now.
Bourne 5 will be in theaters July 29, 2016.
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Source: Universal Pictures, ComingSoon