Deadline is reporting that this is official: Matt Damon will NOT be in The Bourne Legacy, number 4 in the franchise from writer/director Tony Gilroy.

Granted this is hardly surprising, as Universal and Gilroy began the new project without expecting him to return after hearing him say he wouldn’t if Paul Greengrass were not the director. Still, now that it’s official it’ll be interesting how they approach the marketing aspect of the completed film, sans Damon and Bourne. To get around the absence of their star Gilroy is saying he’s going to focus more on the Treadstone agency and the inner workings, while creating a new main character who is being called “another agent and probably a killer who went through experiences similar
to Bourne’s or the character played by Clive Owen in the original”

That could be great, and Gilroy is excited about this angle so it’s safe to say he’ll do a good job with it. He’s also leaving room for a possible Matt Damon return via cameo or bit part in later movies – should there be any. By not recasting Jason Bourne he’s leaving the door wide open for Damon, should he reconsider in the future.

Head over to Deadline and read the great piece by Mike Fleming. It gives you a terrific idea of what Gilroy has in mind, as well as a bit of history as to how all of this transpired.

Thanks to Felix for the tip.