The Jason Bourne universe will cross over to television in a new spinoff show currently moving forward at USA Network. First introduced in a series of books by Robert Ludlum, super-agent Jason Bourne initially appeared on the big screen in 2002’s The Bourne Identity, directed by Doug Liman. Matt Damon played the amnesia plagued CIA assassin struggling to piece together the truth about his own past.
The Bourne Identity became only a modest hit in theaters but later blew up on home video, prompting the launch of an entire franchise based on Ludlum’s books. Director Paul Greengrass helmed the next two films in the series, The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), both starring Matt Damon. Greengrass’ hyper-kinetic editing style on those films became heavily influential, even finding its way into the Bond film Quantum of Solace. Greengrass then dropped out for 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, in which Damon had planned to hand the franchise off to Jeremy Renner. Damon and Greengrass then both came back – without a very disappointed Renner – for 2016’s Jason Bourne, the last film in the series so far.
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Jason Bourne himself looks like he will remain on ice for the foreseeable future, but the larger Bourne universe remains ripe for further exploration. As reported by Variety, that universe is headed to the small screen in a spinoff series being developed at USA Network. Titled Treadstone, the series reportedly will explore the backstory of the CIA black ops organization that spawned Jason Bourne. The show will follow numerous other sleeper agents as they activate all over the world to proceed with their missions. Tim Kring (Heroes) has signed up to write and executive produce, with Rahmin Bahrani (Fahrenheit 451) set to direct the pilot.
The Bourne universe follows in the secret agent cross-over path blazed by Jack Ryan, set to debut as a series from Amazon with John Krasinski as the title character. In addition to Treadstone, USA Network reportedly has three other pilots in the pipeline. These include Briarpatch, a drama from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail about an investigator returning to her Texas border hometown to find her sister’s killer. USA has also ordered Dare Me, a series about the brutal world of competitive cheerleading based on the novel by Megan Abbott. Finally, USA will look at Erase, a drama from creator and star Denis Leary about a former bad cop trying to bring down his old cronies while battling Alzheimer’s.
Clearly, the big property in this pilot order is the Bourne universe series Treadstone. Universal made $1.6 billion worldwide on the Bourne films, so obviously that’s a brand they want to keep alive. With the movie well having dried up, it’s only logical to now make the jump to television. With Matt Damon obviously not wanting to make that leap along with the universe, it makes sense to leave the actual Jason Bourne character behind and explore different aspects of the story. Then again, Matt Damon did once say he had no problem with someone else eventually playing Jason Bourne. So perhaps the character could ultimately show up, portrayed by a different actor.
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