Sometimes a news story just slips past me – I mean to write about it but then other things get in the way and it never happens. But this news story intrigued me enough that I filed it away in my mental storehouse and now, on this fine Sunday afternoon, I will bring you my thoughts on it.

Universal is making a big investment in the Bourne franchise – they’ve signed a deal with the Robert Ludlum estate to get them the rights to the Bourne books for just about ever, and they also have a first look deal on other Ludlum books. Universal is now the House of Ludlum.

This is weird news. The Bourne films felt very finished with the excellent Bourne Ultimatum. The fact that Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon are coming back for a fourth isn’t my favorite news item of the year, but with these two comes a lot of faith – you know that they aren’t just jumping back into the franchise for the dough. They feel that there’s some story worth telling there.

But beyond the fourth film? The Variety article about this deal mentions Bourne becoming Universal’s James Bond franchise – a seemingly infinite strip of stories that just keep going along. That’s troubling, as the beauty of the Bourne films has been that they tell the story of a character and don’t just feature interchangeable adventures.

The biggest question becomes what happens after Bourne Zoso? Does Damon stay on (it’s hard to imagine Greengrass still sticking with the franchise, but who knows) and do a sextuplet of Bourne films, or does he turn into this franchise’s Sean Connery?