Tony Gilroy To Direct 'Bourne 4' ... But Will Matt Damon Return?

Matt Damon in The Bourne UltimatumEver since Matt Damon swam off into the sunset, er, East River at the end of "The Bourne Ultimatum," there's been a whole lot of back-and-forth as to whether a fourth installment in the highly lucrative amnesiac spy franchise would ever get made. Well, according to, "Bourne 4" is now moving full-steam ahead with Tony Gilroy, who wrote the first three films, in the director's chair.

Though Paul Greengrass, the shaky-camera-loving maestro who helmed "Supremacy" and "Ultimatum," will be missed, we're more than happy to see Gilroy, who is also penning the script, take over the franchise reins for '4," tentatively entitled "The Bourne Legacy." We're less happy about the fact that Damon's involvement in the picture is still uncertain. Damon has long maintained that he was game for "Bourne 4" ... but only, repeat ONLY, if Greengrass were directing.

Now that Greengrass is out, is there any hope for Damon's return? We certainly hope so. For his part, Damon has left the door open to the possibility of his return at some point. When MTV News talked to him at the "Green Zone" junket in March, the actor hinted that Universal (the studio behind "Bourne") could go all "Spider-Man" on the franchise and reboot it with a new face in the role. "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," he said.

In other words, this new face would be a Jason Bourne -- a government operative who assumes the spy's identity -- and not the Jason Bourne we have come to know, love and fear ... thus leaving room for the real Jason to make his big comeback at some point down the road. Not a bad idea, but it just wouldn't feel the same. Damon is Bourne, Bourne is Damon. It would make us sad to see someone else beating a baddie to a bloody pulp with a rolled-up magazine.

Luckily, our gut tells us that Damon isn't going to dismiss "Bourne 4" offhand now that Gilroy is involved. After all, as co-screenwriter for the first three films, Gilroy is largely responsible for paring down Robert Ludlum's dense novels into taught, spare, gritty thrillers. And he's not lacking the director's chops department, either. While he scored only mixed reviews for last year's "Duplicity," his first foray into writer-director territory, 2007's "Michael Clayton," was met with nothing but raves.

Will you see "Bourne 4" if Matt Damon doesn't reprise the title role? If so, who would you want to replace him? Sound off below!