The general reception for The Bourne Legacy was noticeably cooler than for previous Bourne sequels, and the diminished interest was reflected in terms of box office (dropping from Ultimatum's $442 million to Legacy's $232 million worldwide total). However, an important factor that has kept people buzzing about Bourne 5 has been the idea that it will serve as a 'crossover', uniting Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and Legacy's Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross.
Series producer Frank Marshall has made it known that both Renner and his Legacy costar Rachel Weisz will return for future Bourne installments, while voicing his hope that Damon might join them. The latter, however, is starting to downplay the possibility - now that he has a better understanding of what, exactly, happens in Legacy.
When we spoke to Damon at Comic-Con over the summer, he reiterated his long-standing creed that he's only really interested in returning as the Bourne character if Paul Greengrass comes back as director - in addition to making it clear that his involvement (or lack thereof) with Bourne 5 is not a sure thing. Movieline recently caught up with the actor, but he didn't have any major updates on that situation beyond "There has not been any movement."
Damon admitted that he's not yet seen Legacy but, from what he's been told, the storyline makes the proposition of his return for Bourne 5 more complicated. As he put it:
"... From what I understand, ['Legacy'] kind of relives [The Bourne Ultimatum] from a different perspective. What that means, because they use our actors and characters, is that whatever they said [in 'Legacy'] is true and so we'd have to acknowledge it in any Bourne movie that we'd do. And that makes it really tough. I don't think we can do the Dallas it-was-all-a-dream scenario . I don't think the audience would go for that after they paid money to see a movie."
Legacy does indeed expand the Bourne universe and suggest there's potential for more stories to tell; in fact, there were a few plot threads left dangling (following the film's somewhat anti-climactic conclusion) that could readily be picked up in a fifth installment. The problem, however, is that Bourne's story still isn't one of them. As Damon put it:
"I'd really love to do another one because I love the character, [but it's] a real struggle to extend the franchise... [Bourne's search to] find his identity [is done, so] where do you go next?"
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke announced last month that more Bourne movies are on the way, so it's really a question of whether the studio(s) can find the right script - not to mention, right salary - to convince Damon that Bourne 5 is worth his time. The actor is in a place where he can prioritize artistically-satisfying projects (see: The Promised Land) over easy paychecks, so we'll have to wait and see what happens next.
Are you still interested in Bourne 5 if Matt Damon does not return?