Bourne again: can Treadstone work without Jason Bourne?
A new TV pilot will attempt to carry on the series without its main character. Is it doomed to failure? Here are the reasons why it just might work
here are a million reasons why the USA Network’s Bourneless Jason Bourne spin-off, Treadstone, may not work. You could look at the patchy nature of showrunner Tim Kring’s résumé, or speculate on how severely the series’ trademark globe-hopping would be curtailed with a meagre TV budget. You could ask yourself whether your tolerance for shaky-handed parkour could stretch to several hours a year. Honestly, the whole thing could stink. But, you know what? I’m an optimist. After giving this some consideration, I have decided that Treadstone may be the perfect way to continue the Bourne story. Here’s why …
There’s a rich mythology to play with
By the end of this year, 15 Bourne novels will have been published; a huge reservoir of source material. Everything you could possibly want to know about operation Treadstone – the black-ops CIA programme designed to create nearly superhuman assassins that the series will revolve around – has already been written. The world is already fully formed, and all Kring needs to do is find his place in it. If he does it right, Treadstone could be as rich and deep as The X-Files or Lost.
It isn’t unprecedented
If any series can continue a story without its leading figures, it’s Bourne. Robert Ludlum, who created the character, died shortly after the publication of the third Bourne novel in 2001 and Eric Van Lustbader has continued to churn out a book a year for more than a decade now. And let’s not forget The Bourne Legacy, the weird 2012 Bourneless offshoot film that starred Jeremy Renner instead of Matt Damon. Admittedly, it wasn’t a great film – as the end credits rolled, I couldn’t remember a single thing that had happened – but it was still a million times better than 2016’s Jason Bourne.