Reports of Matt Damon’s return as Jason Bourne have been greatly exaggerated. While there is no doubt that rumors of Matt Damon’s return to the Bourne franchise in the Justin Lin-directed fifth film were met with cheers from fans of the original trilogy, according to the statement producer of the film Frank Marshall made to The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s simply not true.”
First seeds of Matt Damon’s involvement with the new Bourne flick were planted when it was announced that the film would be pushed from its 2015 date to summer 2016. Soon after, Latino-Review, a long time hit-or-miss source of pop culture and movie intel delivered on a reason why. According to their “deeply embedded trusted source, the reason Bourne 5 got pushed to July 15, 2016 is because Matt Damon is in fact back to play his signature role as Jason Bourne for director Justin Lin!”
The logic of Damon’s return seemed to follow, as it’s not the first time a movie was delayed due to last-minute contract negotiation–Batman v. Superman had such delays when the studio decided to use the film as more a launching pad for a Justice League films–so who is to say the same couldn’t be said for Matt Damon in Bourne?
After all, even though The Bourne Legacy was ultimately a successful film financially, more than doubling its $113 million budget worldwide, its box office earnings were still a substantial step down from the previous installment, The Bourne Ultimatum, Which made over $442 million on a significantly smaller budget. Legacy also holds the dishonor of being the Bourne film with the least critical acclaim, holding a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 55 percent (compared to Ultimatum‘s rating of 94 percent). To top it all off, the film simply does not star Matt Damon, and consequently, the namesake of its franchise, an unforgivable sin in the eyes of some fans, many of whom wrote off Legacy as nothing more than a cash grab on the brand.
All that being said, Matt Damon showing up in the new flick doesn’t appear to be in the stars. Producer Frank Marshall’s full statement regarding the film’s getting pushed to 2016 The Hollywood Reporter is as follows, and has no mention of Mr. Damon:
[Director] Justin Lin is working with Andrew Baldwin on an Aaron Cross script/story that they pitched us a few months ago. I talk to Justin all the time and the script is not ready. It’s a summer movie, and if we don’t start preproduction now, we can’t make next summer. Therefore, it’s a wise decision to move to 2016.
Then there is Damon’s reported statement from awhile ago, saying said he’d only return if it made sense or if Paul Greengrass, director of the second and third films in the original trilogy, was involved.
Thoughts on Matt Damon not returning to the franchise? Would his return have mattered to you in the grand scheme of things?