Matt Damon set to play Jason Bourne for the fourth time

Paul Greengrass in talks to direct 'The Bourne Ultimatum' sequel

Matt Damon is set to play amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne for a fourth time.

Director Paul Greengrass (Captain Philllips) is reported to be returning to the spy thriller franchise for a third time for the long-awaited sequel to 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum.

According to Deadline, Universal Pictures are in talks with the pair to produce the film for release in summer 2016. The news comes as a surprise following previous comments from Greengrass who told Deadline that once Bourne regained his memory he thought there was nowhere left for the character to go.

The Bourne films are based on the spy novels by Robert Ludlum. They follow the quest of a former agent, who was part of a top secret government program called Treadstone, to regain his memory and exact revenge on those who betrayed him and left him for dead.

Conceived as a rival to the James Bond movies, the first film in the franchise, The Bourne Identity, was directed by Doug Liman (The Edge Of Tomorrow) and released in 2002. Bourne’s next adventure, The Bourne Supremacy, was Greengrass’ first Bourne film. The films have taken almost $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

The Bourne Legacy (pictured), a spin-off starring Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, Hawkeye in The Avengers) as black ops agent Aaron Cross, was released in 2012.

A Justin Lin-directed follow-up to that film with the returning Renner was in development for release in 2016. It now appears that the Matt Damon sequel will be made and released first.