Universal Pictures has faced a rather tumultuous journey in their attempt to get a fourth Jason Bourne movie to the big screen. Fans may have felt satisfied with the closure provided by The Bourne Ultimatum, but with such a lucrative franchise in question - was there ever any doubt that we'd see another Bourne movie in some way, shape or form?
While the idea of a Bourne prequel or reboot has been tossed around, there's ultimately very little known about which direction The Bourne Legacy will take the series in. However, Deadline is reporting that at least one important piece of the puzzle has fallen into place- Tony Gilroy has made a deal with Universal to direct the film.
Gilroy made an impressive directorial debut with 2007's Michael Clayton and followed it up with last year's spy thriller, Duplicity. More importantly, he wrote the three previous Bourne movies. Despite his familiarity with the series, Gilroy originally wasn't involved with The Bourne Legacy.
Universal initially burned through several other writers and the results were evidently unsatisfactory. They hired Gilroy to fashion a new script back in June and at the time many speculated this might be an attempt on Universal's part to woo back Paul Greengrass (who directed The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum) and star Matt Damon.
Greengrass never seemed all that interested in making a fourth installment, but he maintained that his departure had been an amicable decision between him and the studio. Nevertheless, Damon insisted that without Greengrass calling the shots he could not be persuaded to play Jason Bourne again.
There's no definitive answer yet as to whether or not Damon's attitude has changed, but at this point they're ready to move forward on The Bourne Legacy with or without him.
Although Universal was hoping to get the film in theaters sometime in 2012, there is no longer a set schedule or release date. Still, the Bourne franchise remains one of their highest priorities and with Gilroy officially at the helm, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this get fast-tracked.
We already know the film has nothing to do with the novel it borrows its title from, but Gilroy has yet to acknowledge whether or not The Bourne Legacy is intended as a sequel to the other films or the start of a brand new series. If the lead role has to be recast, will fans accept a new actor if the story is set in the same timeline or is it in their best interest to wipe the slate clean and start fresh?
Personally, The Bourne Identity is my favorite film in the series and I was never that enamored with the two sequels or Greengrass' direction (to be honest, I'm a bit baffled by Damon's devotion to him). So not only do I welcome Gilroy's involvement, I also take great solace in the fact that he apparently didn't think very much of the sequels either. Even if Damon refuses to come back, I'm confident Gilroy can still deliver a solid film that's closer in spirit to Robert Ludlum's novels.
Does the world need another Jason Bourne movie? Probably not. But with Gilroy in charge, The Bourne Legacy at least stands a chance at being more than a blatant cash grab.