Jason Bourne is currently banking big at the box-office, and despite some mixed reviews, it seems to be a solid return to form for everyone’s favorite amnesiac super-spy. With The Bourne Legacy lacking the impact of the original trilogy, the fifth film in the franchise was always going to surprise or disappoint some critics; after all, the movie marks a nine-year gap between appearances for Matt Damon as Bourne himself. Many fans seemed to think his time had come and gone in that near decade, that maybe Damon had missed his window, one that was open on numerous occasions. Although this doesn’t seem to be the case, it did alter the fan perspective a little.
Regardless of the opinions, the film is faring well, but with a huge return comes significant fanfare and commercial recognition. As a result, the film makers themselves were always going to change things up a bit in order to keep the franchise fresh, and they did just that. In fact, they made several major changes, not least one that involves certain members of the primary cast.
Julia Stiles, who has featured in the Bourne franchise since its original instalment, The Bourne Identity, recently discussed a major scene that features her long-running character, Nicky Parsons. An ally, computer hacker, and intelligence gatherer for Bourne, Parsons enabled the spy to recollect his past and piece together his fractured memory, a gripping story arc that spanned the first three movies and defined Bourne as a character. In Jason Bourne, her character links up with Bourne once more and features in a pivotal moment that no one saw coming. Warning, major spoilers lie ahead for Jason Bourne.
As many know, people who get close to Bourne in the movies — Marie Kreutz being a prime example — usually end up dead, and although Nicky Parsons has skated on that possible plot twist for three movies, she was unable to escape her fate in Jason Bourne. After gaining access to sensitive CIA files during the film’s opening, Nicky Parsons is killed by a foreign asset hired by CIA director Robert Dewey. Bourne, having recovered from his amnesia at this point, takes a key from Nicky before her death and locates the stolen files. Bourne then makes it his mission to go after the CIA.
The death marks Julia Stile’s departure from the franchise, one she has featured in for fourteen years. The actress recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly and revealed that although she was okay with her character’s demise, she didn’t know it was going to happen.
“I didn’t know before I signed on, but I when I read the script, I actually told Paul, ‘That’s exciting.’ I think he was tentative or worried that I was not going to be happy with dying in the film. I was just so excited about Nikki’s turn in this one that to me, as long as her ending was dramatic and deliberate, I thought that was worth it and exciting. It was always going to be by a bullet. There were a lot of discussions about how to make it clear that she was doing it on purpose; that her death wasn’t accidental. It was her sacrificing herself.”
Although some will see Parsons as just another victim in Bourne’s quest for answers, her death will definitely be felt if the franchise continues. She has been featured since the beginning, and started out as nothing but an innocent CIA worker. At the tutelage of Bourne, we have seen the woman blossom from naive computer hacker to paranoid technical ally, a character development that added some heart and tension to the original trilogy. By the end of her run, she wanted answers just as much as Bourne did, and her noble sacrifice enabled Bourne to finally discover the path to the truth. Quite how this shapes the future of the franchise is unclear, but her death could become a pivotal moment in the series.
And the future of the series depends on Jason Bourne‘s success. Currently on a gross of $116 million worldwide, the film has been met with mixed reviews, but it’s still early days. Universal Pictures hasn’t green-lit Bourne 6 just yet, but with Universal chairwoman Donna Langley stating her intention to make Bourne movies forever — a story covered by the New York Times — there’s hope that the series will continue.
Regardless, Langley sees Damon and director Paul Greengrass as key pieces of the Bourne puzzle, and clearly has a future in mind for the franchise. The sequel hasn’t been confirmed, but with a statement of intent like that, surely it’s only a matter of time until we see Bourne 6 get the go ahead.
Jason Bourne is in cinemas now.
[Image via Universal Pictures]