New 'Bourne' Movie Planned As Sequel, Not Prequel

Matt Damon's participation in the fourth "Bourne" film is unclear.

Call it the Bourne Determination. Despite the participation of star Matt Damon and two-time franchise director Paul Greengrass being in doubt, Universal is pushing forward with plans for a fourth "Bourne" movie, tentatively called "The Bourne Legacy." And word is that, in contrast to earlier rumors that the new flick would be a reboot or a prequel, "Legacy" will be a straight sequel.

According to reports from Variety and Deadline.com, Universal has hired Tony Gilroy to write the script. Gilroy wrote the first three movies and has also been tapped to write a franchise bible, lending credence to the idea that the fourth film is only the beginning of Universal's big-screen plans for the "Bourne" universe. "Legacy" — which will not be based on "The Bourne Legacy," an Eric Lustabader-penned novel in the Robert Ludlum series — is looking at a 2012 release date.

The news that the forthcoming "Bourne" film will be a sequel comes as something of a surprise. Earlier this year, Damon said the next installment would likely be a prequel. But whether or not Damon and Greengrass will take part in the fourth film is an open question. Back in February, Damon said he wouldn't reprise the role without Greengrass, who bowed out of his directing duties last fall. Yet both men left the door open to returning to the franchise down the line.

"We see a very clear way that they could go [with the story] that wouldn't interfere with the series that we have and that might give it a chance to have a life right now and if we come back and did another one, even after that without us," Damon

told MTV News.

That "very clear way" seemingly involved rebooting the franchise with another actor taking Bourne's identity, or name given to a uniquely positioned government operative. Such a storytelling technique would easily allow Damon and Greengrass to reenter the fold in the future.

But with Gilroy back in charge of storytelling duties, there's always the chance that Damon and Greengrass can be enticed to return. As the director himself told

us, he maintains a good relationship with the studio and he plans to work with Damon again.

"I'm going to continue to make movies for Universal," Greengrass told us in March. "I'm going to continue to make movies with Matt hopefully. They'll undoubtedly continue to make 'Bourne' movies. So it's all good news."