‘Bourne’ without Bourne – Franchise Finds a New Central Character

If you’ve ever read any of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne novels, you know that the ‘Bourne’ film trilogy starring Matt Damon drastically skews from the original stories. Once the character escapes from the Zurich bank only 20 minutes into ‘The Bourne Identity‘, the film series goes off in its own direction. Now, three movies in and nearly a decade after Damon became the big screen amnesiac assassin, the ‘Bourne’ saga is spinning off in another bold, unique direction. A fourth ‘Bourne’ flick is in the works that follows a new non-Jason Bourne central character. Confused as to how the ‘Bourne’ story can survive without Bourne? Me too.

After both Damon and Paul Greengrass (director of ‘The Bourne Supremacy‘ and ‘The Bourne Ultimatum‘) officially walked away from the series, Universal gave screenwriter Tony Gilroy helm as co-writer and director of the fourth film in the franchise. Currently titled ‘The Bourne Legacy’, number four is currently in pre-production. While it still bears the ‘Bourne’ name, title character Jason Bourne will not appear in the film. Early studio rumors claim that ‘Legacy’ will follow a new agent tangled up in a secret program much more threatening and dangerous than the shenanigans Bourne previously found himself in. And who is our new lead? Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner.

Renner currently has a lot of acting gigs on his plate. Taking over the ‘Bourne’ series locks him into his third running franchise. Next weekend, we’ll get taste of what Renner has to offer ‘The Avengers’ when he makes an appearance as Hawkeye in ‘Thor’. Then in December, Tom Cruise will pass him the ‘Mission: Impossible’ torch in ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’.

Ten years ago, who would have guessed that Renner would be where he is today? Did anyone watch him play a whiny villain in ‘S.W.A.T.‘ and think, “One day, that dude is going to be huge”? I enjoyed Renner in ‘28 Weeks Later‘ and ‘The Assassination of Jesse James‘, but never thought he would make it to the A-list. Even while he was getting praises from ‘The Hurt Locker‘, I just didn’t see it. But after witnessing him play a wildcard badass in ‘The Town‘, I knew that it wasn’t just a fluke that he was gaining steam. The guy has been slowly proving himself over the last decade. Prepare for Jeremy Renner to become a household name, and not just “that Hurt Locker guy.”

When Damon and Greengrass left ‘Bourne’, I was against a fourth film. Hearing that Cruise wanted to leave ‘Mission: Impossible’ after number four, I wanted that franchise to die too. But after finally hopping aboard the Renner Train, I’m all for the continuation of these franchises. I cannot wait to see what they hold for us in the future.

What do you think? Can Jeremy Renner hold up the ‘Bourne Legacy’?


  1. Evan Withrow

    I love Jeremy Renner. I was one of the few that when people were asking who “that Hurt Locker guy” was, I could promptly answer that he was the cool villain in SWAT. I can’t say I expected him to hit it so big, but I am not surprised. The guy can flat out act. The Bourne and Mission Impossible films are two of my favorite action franchises and I’m glad to see they brought in Renner to continue them. I’m sad to see Cruise and Damon go, but I am optimistic nonetheless.

    • Luke Hickman

      Well said. I’m glad they are continuing the franchises and not remaking them. Smart moves in the middle of TONS of remakes.

  2. Renner is a fantastic actor and a great choice for this movie. I’m just glad he’s playing a new character and this isn’t a “reboot”…I’m about as sick of reboots as I am 3D.

    • Luke Hickman

      I’m with you on that one! The only upcoming reboot I am actually optimistic about it ‘The Amazing Spider-man’ – but I think I’m alone on this one. Consider it’s a reboot AND it’s in 3D, I’ll bet you’re really against it!

      • I’m not excited about Spider-man…although I do hold out a slim bit of hope, given that it’s the director of (500) Days of Summer, which I really enjoyed.

        About the only reboot I’m excited about is Zach Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL…primarily because they’re trying to make up for a failed reboot.

        • RBBrittain

          Don’t you mean a NON-reboot, or maybe semi-reboot? Brandon Routh was supposed to be Christopher Reeve’s Superman from I & II (ignoring III & IV, the semi-reboot part) returning to Earth from a 5-year absence. That one SHOULD have been a full reboot, if anything for Reeve’s sake; his Superman should have died with him.

  3. I just think it’s amazing that, in the span of one year, Renner went from being the star of a failed TV series that nobody paid any attention to (The Unusuals) to the Oscar nominated lead of the Best Picture winning film. That’s quite a dramatic career swing!