Universal has released the first official trailer for The Bourne Legacy, set to launch Aug. 3, 2012, in move theaters.
But in a departure for the Robert Ludlum spy novels, which the original trilogy used as inspiration for their films, the newest Bourne movie won't feature Jason Bourne at all, or the original CIA Treadstone program.
Instead, Jeremy Renner appears as the mysterious Kenneth Gidson/Aaron Cross, a member of a new program called Outcome.
But for those worried that The Bourne Legacy will be a letdown, have no fear: the trailer for the newest movie in the Bourne franchise is slick, smart and promises plenty of action and intrigue.
Watch the trailer for yourself below, and check out the five things we've picked up from the two-minute teaser so far.
1. We have a new 'Bourne' star... and he's very, very good.
It would be putting it lightly to say that fans of the original Bourne trilogy were skeptical about a fourth installment that didn't feature its title character.
Matt Damon, who played Jason Bourne in the first three films, said that he'd only come back to the series if he could work with Paul Greengrass, who directed The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.
But Jeremy Renner, who recently starred in Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol alongside Tom Cruise, makes for a welcome replacement.
Renner's breakout roles were as Sgt. William James in The Hurt Locker and James Coughlin in The Town. He brings a little of both men into his portrayal of Kenneth Gidson/Aaron Cross, who the trailer classifies as Treadstone without the inconsistencies (a detail which may mean he's even stronger, and more impervious, than Jason Bourne).
At the start of the two-minute trailer, Renner's new character looks pretty worse for wear. His left eye is blackened and swollen, his face is speckled with blood, and his face is covered in small cuts.
By the time the teaser ends, however, we've seen him heal with Wolverine-like speed, shoot a nail at someone using a fire extinguisher (yes, you read that right) and put together a sniper rifle in close to four seconds. If Renner keeps this up, the Bourne movies could become the next Bond franchise, complete with rotating stars.
But if Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross is impressive, there's still his backstory to consider. Which brings us to...
2. But you've always been here!
How can filmmakers create a creator that fits seamlessly into the Bourne universe?
By pretending he has always existed on the fringes of it.
At least, that's what the Bourne Legacy trailer seems to imply. Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg, one character says. The words There was never just one appear on-screen. And then there's the synopsis for the film, which states that Cross's involvement has been triggered by the events of the first three films.
Together, all these hints seem to suggest that rather than simply creating a better Jason Bourne, Aaron Cross has been a project in the making for some time, and is only getting into the action now that Matt Damon's character is...well, watch the original trilogy and see for yourself.
3. Some Familiar Faces
Jeremy Renner isn't the only new character in The Bourne Legacy. Edward Norton appears as our likely fourth-movie bad guy, while Rachel Weisz looks to replace Julia Stiles as the heroine.
But that doesn't mean the newest Bourne movie doesn't also feature the return of an excellent supporting cast. Five-time Oscar winner Albert Finney is back as Dr. Albert Hirsch, and Joan Allen has returned as CIA Department director Pam Landy.
Scott Glenn and David Strathairn are also in The Bourne Legacy, rounding out most of the Bourne veterans.
4. Getting back to Edward Norton...
The star of Fight Club and The Incredible Hulk has a turn as a mysterious character named Byer in the latest Bourne film. Although his part in the fourth movie is unknown, the trailer does tell us that he's helping to run a program called Outcome, and that he demands absolute obedience from Renner's Aaron Cross.
There is nothing that you wouldn't do for this country, Byer tells Cross in the trailer. You have the strength to do what's necessary.
Based on that ominous bit alone, it seems likely that Norton's character is going to become the new villain in a series noted for its charming, ruthless and intelligent baddies.
5. Smart Action, Courtesy of Tony Gilroy
Matt Damon may not be happy that Paul Greengrass won't be directing The Bourne Legacy, but fans of the first three films should be ecstatic that Gilroy, who penned the original trilogy, is both writing and directing the new film.
The Bourne Legacy trailer features the smart slick look and breathtaking action as the first three movies, but never lets itself rest on action alone. Gilroy knows how to write intrigue.
In between some glorious shots of Jeremy Renner letting loose, there's plenty of conspiratorial glances and questioning looks to hint that the mystery of Aaron Cross will be as central to Legacy as the mystery of Jason Bourne was to the trilogy.
For those who doubt the film will live up to the hype, take heart in the awesome Hitchcock-inspired paneling that criss-crosses what viewers can see in the trailer. Those shifting black bars are straight out of the trailer for Psycho, a good sign of things to come.
Watch the Bourne Legacy trailer below, and see for yourself.