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As many know, Matt Damon’s popular Bourne films tried going in another direction led by Jeremy Renner. At one point, Renner thought a crossover between his Bourne character and Damon’s was a good idea.

But Damon didn’t share the same sentiment.

Jeremy Renner wouldn’t have done ‘The Bourne Legacy’ to replace Matt Damon

Matt Damon at Deadline Contenders Film.
Matt Damon | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

2012 was a big year for superstar Jeremy Renner. Not only did he find himself being recruited for Marvel’s The Avengers, he saw himself potentially becoming the new face of the Bourne franchise. Unlike Damon’s prior three Bourne movies, however, Renner’s Bourne Legacy wouldn’t focus on Jason Bourne. Instead it would focus on a new spy by the name of Aaron Cross.

This was good news for Jeremy Renner, who wouldn’t have taken the role if he was going to be recast as Jason Bourne.

“It was a yes before I even got the script, creatively, even though I didn’t know what the heck it was,” Renner once told the Press Association (via Contact Music). “I always knew it wasn’t Jason Bourne so it was something to consider. It was an instant ‘no’ if that was the case. Who wants to do that? Matt will always be Bourne.”

He also took the time to explain the differences between the original Jason Bourne and his own Aaron Cross.

“Aaron Cross is a guy who wants to fit in and be a part of something. He’s completely the opposite of who Jason Bourne was. Bourne was just trying to find out who the hell he was, but Aaron Cross knows exactly who he is. He knows what he wants to do and that’s being a part of his team,” he said.

Jeremy Renner would’ve liked to see a ‘Bourne’ crossover film, but Matt Damon wasn’t sure the idea would work

At the time, Renner seemed confident and excited about his Bourne movie. Although it was a departure from Damon’s films, Renner felt they honored the films’ tone and overall quality. So much so that Renner looked forward to a possible crossover between his Aaron Cross and Damon’s Jason Bourne.

“We’ve kept the same, the style, tone and format of what the first three Bourne movies are. This one still has to be successful, but maybe eventually Matt Damon and I could do one together. That would be kick-ass! I love Matt,” Renner once told Shortlist (via Contact Music).

The idea was also pitched to Matt Damon. But the Oscar-winner didn’t share the same level of enthusiasm for a crossover that Renner did.

“I don’t know what the story would be,” Damon once told IndieWire. “I love Jeremy and I’m a huge fan of him and I know him personally and love him outside of work, too. But I just don’t know what that story would be. I could never see Bourne teaming up with anyone. And all he said was – he wanted out, he wanted out, he wanted out. So how do you get that character going again?”

Matt Damon felt ‘The Bourne Legacy’ made it harder to do another traditional Jason Bourne sequel


Matt Damon Once Felt His ‘Bourne’ Films Were Shot in the Head by Jeremy Renner’s ‘Bourne: Legacy’

Damon also confided that he saw the sequel and spin-off to his Bourne Ultimatum. When he was asked his opinions on the movie, all it did was make him skeptical about returning to that universe.

“I think it’s going to make it harder for us to make another one. I’m just trying to figure out like…Because they used our characters, anything that happens in that world, that’s the Bourne world now,” he explained. “So the pill popping and all that stuff happens.”

Damon and longtime Bourne director Paul Greengrass would eventually crack the code enough to make the sequel Jason Bourne in 2016. So far it’s officially the last film in the franchise.