Franchise revivals are all the rage in Hollywood these days, with Jurassic World breaking box-office records that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will have eyes on in a few months. The trend is showing no signs of slowing down, as Universal is bringing back one of their greatest action franchises in 2016. After many years of hoping, fans will finally get to see star Matt Damon reunite with Paul Greengrass for a new Jason Bourne film, which is currently going by the working title Bourne 5.
At this point, not much is known about the project. We've learned that the likes of Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander are joining the cast alongside Damon and the returning Julia Stiles (reprising her role Nicky Parsons from the previous installments), but nothing in regards to story. Now, Damon has revealed some clues about the narrative.
Speaking with BuzzFeed while promoting his new film The Martian, Damon stated that he and Greengrass struggled to come up with a compelling plot for a new Bourne in the years following the George W. Bush presidency (which Damon felt the first three films were about). It wasn't until the Edward Snowden scandal broke in 2013 that they found their inspiration:
“Without giving too much of it away, it’s Bourne through an austerity-riddled Europe and in a post-Snowden world. It seems like enough has changed, you know? There are all these kinds of arguments about spying and civil liberties and the nature of democracy.”
The Bourne franchise has always been one to smartly combine its genre thrills with timely social commentary, as evidenced by Damon's quote about Bush and America in the post-9/11 world. Ever since he leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency, Snowden has been a hot talking point on various topics like government surveillance, secrecy, and national security. It's easy to see how this series in particular could use those debates as a launching point for a new adventure, and it will be interesting to see what they do with that angle. Filming is slated to start next week, so perhaps some more details will be revealed then.
In the meantime, Damon was also able to share some of the locations where the new film will take place. Bourne is no stranger to hopping around the globe, having visited places such as Naples, Paris, and New York in his travels. That franchise staple is set to continue this time around, as the super spy will once again go from one side of the world to the other:
“We’re starting in Greece, you know, the beginning of democracy. And the movie ends in Las Vegas, the most grotesque incarnation of….”
Based on Damon's wording, it would seem there's a healthy amount of political subtext in Bourne 5. That he specifies Greece as the "beginning of democracy" indicates that a major part of Greengrass' vision may be to illustrate the current state of government in the 21st century and how far we as a society has fallen from its original ideals and values. Arguably, Bourne has always been the moral center of these movies, so viewing this conflict from his perspective could be a unique experience and offer food for thought for the audience. Damon always maintained he wouldn't return to this well unless the story was sound, and it looks like he's on track to make good on that promise.
Bourne 5 will hit theaters July 29, 2016.