First pic for The Bourne Legacy revealed

Movies Blog9 January 2012

The first image from action sequel 'The Bourne Legacy' have been released over the weekend.

Fans of the megabucks action franchise might be confused however by what exactly is going on with this fourth installment.

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We've known for a while that Matt Damon wouldn't be back as Jason Bourne, the highly skilled super assassin who karate-chopped his way through the first three films. He refused to return to the franchise when Paul Greengrass, who helmed "The Bourne Supremacy" and 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum" - passed on directing 'Part 4'.

Studio Universal pressed on regardless (the first three films made more than £600 million at the box office), and signed up 'The Hurt Locker' star Jeremy Renner to play the lead.

But here's the catch - he won't play Jason Bourne. Instead the film has been called a 'sidequel'. It's set in the same universe as the first films, and even sees 'Bourne' alumni Joan Allen and Albert Finney return, but Renner will play a totally different spy called Aaron Cross.

It's like having a 'James Bond' movie that follows the adventures of 006.

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The plot will see Renner and a host of new characters (Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton join the cast) apparently deal with the mess left by Jason Bourne in the original trilogy.

Movie insiders reckon Universal went down the 'sidequel' route because they hope Matt Damon could be persuaded to return to the series at some point.

The move risks confusing filmgoers however, who might buy a ticket for a 'Bourne' movie without realising the star isn't even in it.

Traditionally the 'sidequel' route spells the beginning of the end for movie series'. Think 'Daredevil' spin-off 'Elektra', the straight-to-DVD 'American Pie' movies and 'Mummy' spin-off 'The Scorpion King' - which all ditched the original characters.

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'Police Academy' fans will also remember that the series went (even more) downhill after Steve Guttenberg was replaced with Matt McCoy in 'Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach'.

Reaction to the 'Bourne' image have been muted at best. The snap of Renner has been dubbed "generic".

Let's hope 'The Bourne Legacy' itself will be a bit more exciting when it is released on 17 August 2012.

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