Last summer’s The Bourne Legacy wasn’t a megahit. It grossed about $275 million globally, significantly less than The Bourne Ultimatum. But the film did prove that audiences will show up to watch a Bourne movie that does not, in fact, feature Jason Bourne — good news for Universal, a studio which has had a difficult time launching franchises that don’t have the word Fast in the title. That might be changing, though: The studio had a big 2012, and in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Chairman Adam Fogelson talks about the upcoming Despicable Me sequel and the plans for a Snow White and the Huntsman follow-up, which will indeed feature both Snow White and the Huntsman (but will not feature director Rupert Sanders.)
So where does that leave Bourne? Fogelson doesn’t offer anything concrete, but he does explain that Legacy was always pitched as an expansion project. “The point of the last movie was to create a universe, a world and characters that give us a lot of freedom and flexibility in how we go forward.” He continues:
Yeah, the movie didn’t perform the way the last one did. It also didn’t cost what the last one did. It performed more along the lines of how the first one did. I absolutely see us doing more Bourne, 100 percent yes. Matt [Damon] has talked about the possibility of coming back, and we totally respect that and are excited if and when he wants to have conversations. But I think the last movie gave us a big bunch of options to pursue a next chapter.
So, would Damon actually return? The actor has never ruled out a return, but he has remained steadfast on one point: He would only return if Supremacy/Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass were onboard, and if the sequel script could actually justify Bourne’s return. Late last year, he seemed particularly disinterested in making a comeback — he publicly criticized Tony Gilroy, the writer/director of Legacy, and he noted that he couldn’t imagine Bourne teaming up with Jeremy Renner’s character, who I believe was called John Mills or Ryan Hawks or Aaron Cross or something. Also, it’s worth pointing out that Bourne Ultimatum has a pretty much perfect ending, which connects back to the first movie quite well — it’s hard to see any good reason to keep the story going.
Except for the best reason of all: Money! Damon has been pretty secure in making intriguing non-franchise movies since Ultimatum, but it’s entirely possible to imagine that — say, if Elysium flops — he might feel the need to star in a guaranteed success. And given the huge popularity of the Bourne name, it’s hard to imagine a return trip from Damon wouldn’t be a big hit. Maybe he could team up with Jeremy Renner, and they could bring back Richard Chamberlain from the 1988 Bourne TV movie. They could call it The Bourne Symposium.
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