Deadline has broken the news that one of the pivotal talents associated with the Jason Bourne franchise - screenwriter/director Tony Gilroy - has been hired on by Universal to pen the treatment for a fourth Bourne film, tentatively titled The Bourne Legacy.
Rumors concerning a fourth Bourne film have been circulating since 2008, but this is the first concrete bit of information we've heard. Star Matt Damon previously speculated that the next Jason Bourne adventure would be a prequel, which could still turn out to be true - especially if he and Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass are not returning for The Bourne Legacy.
What is known about Gilroy's treatment at this point is that it will not be associated with the 2005 book by Eric Van Lustbader of the same name. Universal's decision to bring in Gilroy - who co-wrote all three of the previous Bourne films - could be a move on their parts to entice Damon and Greengrass back into the fray. The involvement of Gilroy alongside Bourne producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley seems to indicate that The Bourne Legacy will not be a complete reboot of the franchise in all likelihood.
Am I personally excited for a fourth Bourne flick? While I admire the intelligence of Gilroy's writing - best evidenced in his 2007 directorial debut, Michael Clayton - I felt that The Bourne Ultimatum provided sufficient closure to the series and that another film wasn't needed. Of course, when was the last time Hollywood made a sequel under those circumstances? ;-)
As far as prequels are concerned, those can be tricky propositions. Fans often love to speculate about the history of movie characters - so much so that when filmmakers churn out a poorly-crafted film that reveals their history (Hannibal Rising, anyone?) they often end up offending moviegoers. The mystery of a character's origin is often part of those character's appeal.
What do you think? Does Gilroy's involvement get you excited for a fourth Bourne film? Are you not interested if Damon and Greengrass are not onboard? Sound off in the comments section below.
Universal is currently planning to have The Bourne Legacy out in theaters likely during the 2012 Summer Movie Season.