As /director-paul-greengrass-wont-direct-the-fourth-jason-bourne-film/we reported yesterday, Paul Greengrass is officially backing out of directing the fourth Jason Bourne Feature in Universal Pictures' successful franchise. According to Variety, Matt Damon is not officially attached to the project.

This is a setback for the studio, but not necessarily a fatal one. "Jason Bourne existed before me and will continue, and I hope to remain involved in some capacity as the series moves on," said Greengrass in a statement released by Universal on Tuesday. "You won't find a more devoted supporter of the 'Bourne' franchise than me."

"I will always be grateful to have been the caretaker to Jason Bourne over the course of 'The Bourne Supremacy' and 'The Bourne Ultimatum,'" Greengrass said. "I'm very proud of those films and feel they express everything I most passionately believe about the possibility of making quality movies in the mainstream.

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"My decision to not return a third time as director is simply about feeling the call for a different challenge. There's been no disagreement with Universal Pictures. The opportunity to work with the Bourne family again is a difficult thing to pass up, but we have discussed this together and they have been incredibly understanding and supportive. I've been lucky enough to have made four films for Universal, and our relationship continues."

The development on the fourth installment began with a script by George Nolfi, who did uncredited writing on the last scene of the second film, and penned the third with Tony Gilroy and Scott Z. Burns.

After Nolfi left the project, the studio brought in Joshua Zetumer to write a parallel script, but the movie hasn't yet taken shape, despite the efforts of producer Frank Marshall, and Captivate Entertainment's Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith, who control the rights to the novels of the late Robert Ludlum.

Asked if the studio would move forward with a new director and a new spy: "It would absolutely not be our first choice, but it's obviously a consideration," said one Universal executive. "If you have a franchise as successful as 'Bourne' has been for three movies, your impulse is to keep the band together and continue that success. But Jason Bourne is a moniker, not a person. It's a jewel in the crown for the studio. If we needed to, we'd figure out how to move the franchise forward in a different way."

No production date has been announced.