Why Is Matt Damon In 'Bourne 5'? His Casting Is A Serious Surprise

Fans of Matt Damon were heartbroken when it was announced that the A-lister wouldn't be returning for the fourth movie in the Jason Bourne series, The Bourne Legacy. But those same fans now have reason to rejoice, as although it's not clear yet why Matt Damon is in Bourne 5, the newest film in the franchise, it's a definite that he will be. The movie, which is slated for a July 29 release, will also feature original Bourne cast member Julie Stiles and The Danish Girl's Alicia Vikander. The official title hasn't yet been released, but that won't be the case much longer; author Eric Van Lustbader announced that the first trailer for the new Bourne movie will be shown during this year's Super Bowl broadcast.

It's clear that there's a lot of mystery surrounding the movie, both in terms of the narrative itself and Damon's unexpected return to the franchise. His appearance is a mystery — why did he leave the series in the first place? And what is this enigmatic movie going to be about, anyway? To clear things up, take a look at some details about the new Bourne movie, the events leading up to its creation, and Damon's involvement in all of the above. It's been a lot of ups and downs.

Damon Once Thought The Story Was Done

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In a 2012 interview with GQ, Damon explained that in order to do a fourth Bourne film properly, an entirely new plotline would need to be developed. Said the actor, "If you look at the first three movies, we kind of pounded that idea of identity and amnesia into the ground. We really got everything out of it that we could. So to reboot it, we need to come up with something completely new." Unfortunately, a total reboot of the narrative wasn't feasible within the 11-month turnaround that the studio wanted, so Damon jumped ship.

The Series Didn't Do So Hot Without Its Star

Universal Pictures decided to proceed with the Bourne films after Damon's departure, hiring Jeremy Renner to play genetically-altered assassin Aaron Cross. But the 4th movie, while in no way a box office flop, didn't perform nearly as well as the preceding films. The Bourne Legacy received mix reviews and generated only half as much revenue as The Bourne Ultimatum.

A Reunion Could Be Rejuvenating For Damon, Too

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Although he's currently riding a wave of success from The Martian, Damon's past few years have been sprinkled with some less-than-acclaimed films [did you see We Bought A Zoo? Me neither.]. So getting back on the Bourne wagon is a smart move for the actor, since both reviews and box office numbers have proven that audiences love him as Jason.

Bourne 5 Starts A New Chapter

Damon told Entertainment Weekly a few details about the new movie, including that it opens on Bourne in a social climate riddled with struggle. "There’s been the financial collapse, the great recession, all these issues of cyberwarfare and civil liberties,” he said. “We find [Jason] in a dark and tortured place."

...Dark and tortured, but also looking fine as hell. And there's definitely more where that came from.

Want to learn more about the next Bourne movie? Catch the trailer during the Super Bowl, and stay up to date with Bustle as more news unfolds.

Images: Universal Pictures (3)