THE BOURNE LEGACY may be a Matt Damon less, but in continuity spin-off?

Yesterday we reported that Tony Gilroy had been hired to write a treatment for The Bourne Legacy, the next installment of Universal's Bourne franchise, but initial reports weren't clear on whether it was a normal sequel, a prequel or a previously rumoured remake/reboot. Now technically, even after this report, we still don't exactly know what is going on over at Bourne HQ, BUT, a little bit of smart-thinking and investigative reporting from The Playlist, we think, might have hit the tail on the donkey... Soon after the Gilroy story hit, The Playlist reached out to Universal who decided to waiver the usual 'no comment' response, in favour of a sniff at the truth - telling them that all of the Bourne 4 stories out there were "misleading" and that the new film was officially not a prequel or a sequel, but "a continuation of the franchise, period." Putting two and two together, The Playlist believe this indicates Universal's contingency plan for Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass' probable non-return has been put into effect and Gilroy is writing a treatment for a spin-off centering on other agents of the Bourne legacy (ah - hence the title). So the movie would focus on another guy from the Operation Treadstone storyline. This is something that I previously campaigned the James Bond franchise to test the water with after they hit a rut with the latter Pierce Brosnan movies, (i.e. center a movie around another double-o, such as 009, widening the mythology Star Trek style) and it's a pretty smart thing for Universal to do as it keeps continuity and the interest from the trilogy that came before it. In a world where franchises (Spider-Man) are rebooted just as the mythology begins to stretch out and the days of decade-long connected universes seems to be eroding somewhat, we think it's highly encouraging that Universal have set Gilroy with the task of writing this so called 'Bourne Bible'. Presumably, it sets out what has gone before in a way that is clear for a new writer to come in and make sure he can crack a full screenplay for a spin-off that makes sense. Of course The Playlist could be wrong. A continuation of the franchise could simply mean Bourne 4 with Damon/Greengrass back, but with all the comments we have heard this year and the fallout of the box office failure that was Universal/Damon/Greengrass' Green Zone ($35 million domestic from a $100 million budget) - it's kinda difficult to see that happening right now. Hollywood is a bitter, grudge heavy industry and although most grievances can be settled with money, we think it's just too early to see the trio back working together again. And as Universal have set The Bourne Legacy for a 2012 release, time to heal wounds isn't what they have planned.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.