Tony Gilroy, who wrote the first three Bourne films, and has been hired to write and direct the fourth, revealed that the new film – The Bourne Legacy – will not involved super-spy Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon).

Gilroy says the the new film will have nothing to do with the book of the same title. “It’s a completely original screenplay,” he told film critic Jeffrey Wells. “This is not a reboot or a recast or a prequel. No one’s replacing Matt Damon. There will be a whole new hero, a whole new chapter…this is a stand-alone project.

Gilroy added, “Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he’s very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for what happens. I’m building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy…the world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s return [down the road].”

The move may also may be a ploy by Gilroy to pressure Damon into making a decision on returning to the role. Damon has been involved with other projects and has appeared reluctant to return without director Paul Greengrass’ involvement (Greengrass directed the 2nd and 3rd films).

But if Damon bows out, the new direction allows the critical and box office franchise to continue, and gives Gilroy a chance for a hit (he misfired at the box office with Michael Clayton and Duplicity), while continuing the legacy he began by writing the original films.

Still, will the public buy a Bourne movie without Jason Bourne?

We shall see.