Considering you can watch The Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum in their entireties and still not know exactly what's going on, we'll take any head start on Bourne story-mapping that we can get.
And while the true mysteries of The Bourne Legacy, the fourth film in the spy-thriller franchise and the first to not feature Matt Damon's Jason Bourne, will probably have to be pried out of a confidential informant's cold, dead hands, we have learned a few things about the top-secret flick, courtesy of its new leading man, Jeremy Renner.
Don't worry, no informants were injured in the compiling of this list:
1. Hot Stuff: The Bourne Legacy is due in theaters Aug. 3, 2012, where it will battle for box office supremacy opposite the Total Recall remake starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. Along with Renner, the Bourne sequel stars Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. Surely this makes for enough hotness to satisfy all moviegoers that weekend.
2. Can I See Some ID, Please: For all intents and purposes, Renner plays put-upon CIA spy Aaron Cross. But, considering the way the ball bounces in the Bourne series, Cross "ends up having a bunch of different names," Renner told EmpireOnline.
3. Blink and You'll Miss It: While The Bourne Legacy novel, the first in the series by Eric Van Lustbader, who took over after Robert Ludlum died, again centers on Jason Bourne, Damon's exit from the franchise prompted the creation of a new character, rather than a recast. The novel features Bourne/David Webb getting sucked back into the spy biz after an assassin's bullet narrowly misses him. Then he's framed for murder and out come the Chechen terrorists, a dirty bomb, secret spawn and all sorts of plot twists. How will they adapt this for the big screen with a different main character? Well, Renner says, the film will have "that same ticking clock" that fans of the Bourne films expect. And that's all we get for now.
4. The Big Bad: The nefarious Treadstone—the black ops program that made Jason Bourne into a wily assassin—is still in play, according to Renner. Or is it? In fact, we've heard that the folks who brainwashed Aaron Cross are even more dangerous than the control freaks behind Treadwell. Renner says Legacy features the "same deal" but with "a new set of agents with a different leash." Called Operation Blackbriar? Operation Mistletoe? Operation Buzz Cut? What?!
5. Role Call: Drive star Oscar Isaac, who tested for Renner's role, has been relegated to the still very pivotal role of an assassin known as "Number 3." Meanwhile, because behind every great man is a great woman, that's where Weisz fits in. And Norton is set to play a presumably very crafty villain who doesn't want to rest until he sees Aaron Cross (or whatever his name really is) dead.