Time for an incremental update on The Bourne Legacy, aka the fourth film in the Bourne series. Co-written by Tony and Dan Gilroy and directed by Tony Gilroy, the film will take place in the same murkily bureaucratic world of espionage as the other films in the series (which Tony Gilroy also wrote) but feature a new protagonist.

We’ve known that Matt Damon likely wouldn’t return in any capacity to play Jason Bourne in this chapter, and in a new chat Mr. Gilroy offers up a few more details about what we can expect to see in a Bourne film without the star that powered three previous pictures.

Deadline has the inside line to Tony Gilroy of late, and he told the site,

I’m not going to get into the plot, but you saw the other three films, you know everything that happened, and it’s not a dream sequence. What I can say is, you thought that was the whole world, but it was a small piece of what was going on. Ultimatum exploded at the end with people arrested. We deal with that as a reality, it has ramifications that echo out into the larger world. And of course, Jason Bourne is still alive and out there in the world.

That latter point is key, but it might not even represent the future of the franchise. This movie will introduce another character much like Jason Bourne, one who works for/with Treadstone, the outfit that brainwashes agents to create machine-like, manipulable killers.

Deadline’s post details a lot of the contentious history of the franchise, most of which we’ve covered in brief before, but check it out if you care about that sort of inside baseball stuff. In this case, it’s a pretty interesting set of conditions in which the studio, producer Frank Marshall and several creative figures, including Tony Gilroy and director Paul Greengrass, all intersected in a way that wasn’t exactly pleasant.

The new detail revealed here is the push that got this movie going in the first place. The Robert Ludlum estate was seemingly looking at Universal’s deal to keep the rights, and invited Mr. Gilroy in to meet about a potential fourth script. He was disinterested, but politely took the meeting. That, as he explains, led to this point:

I told them, ‘I don’t have anything for you.’ I’d never seen the third movie, but went home and watched it. Awhile later, I had a slender idea, at least a way to attack the problem. We made a deal that was basically, ‘If you want to put me on for a couple of weeks to figure this out and go exploring in the hills, I can’t tell you what I’ll find but I’ll tell you where I’ll dig. And then I hit a vein, and ended up delivering way more than I thought. I came up with the whole thing and if it wasn’t a swinging idea, I wouldn’t have signed on to direct. It feels good, fresh, but quite honestly, a Bourne kind of movie.

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