After five films the Jason Bourne franchise is coming to TV via Heroes creator Tim Kring with new USA Network series called Treadstone.
On Aug. 16, Deadline reported that the USA Network would not be producing a pilot for the Jason Bourne spin-off TV show they ordered back in April. Instead, USA has ordered the program, which will be called Treadstone, directly to series. That means barring massive production difficulties, the espionage series will make it to air.
Note: this article features spoilers concerning all five Jason Bourne films.
Treadstone is being developed by Heroes creator Tim Kring and will be his first new project since his Freeform sci-fi series Beyond was canceled in March. The show’s first episode will reportedly be directed by Ramin Bahrani, the filmmaker behind HBO’s recent adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Treadstone will chronicle the development and contemporary exploits of a CIA black ops program of the same name. In the Bourne films, Operation Treadstone is responsible for creating Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne and Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross as well as a host of other near superhuman assassins.
In Treadstone’s first season, a group of sleeper agent assassins will be inexplicably awakened across the globe and assigned new missions. So far, it’s not been explained how or if the new show will fit into film series’ continuity. By the end of 2016’s Jason Bourne, Treadstone and its successor super soldier program Operation Blackbriar had been exposed and shut down.
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Consequently, Treadstone will likely evolve in one of two ways. One, it’ll be a reboot of the Bourne mythology, with the Treadstone being founded in the 2010s as opposed to the late 20th century. That way it could track how CIA analyst Richard Webb founded Operation Treadstone and his son David’s recruitment into the program and transformation into the new Jason Bourne.
Alternatively, it could be set within the same universe as the Jason Bourne films. Accordingly, it could chronicle the revival of the Treadstone program in the present and detail its origins in flashback, Orange is the New Black style. That way, it could align with the expectations fans have of the existing series.
And it could tease a possible cameo by Jason Bourne. However, that last bit seems unlikely given that the show isn’t going to be produced by Matt Damon or Paul Greengrass, the director of three of the five Bourne films.
As for Treadstone’s prospects at being any good, it’s a tossup. The first season of Kring’s Heroes was appointing TV. However, the show’s subsequent seasons and its 2015 revival Heroes Reborn were tepid to terrible.
Similarly, Bahrani has made some excellent and stylish movies like 2007’s Chop Shop. But he also made Fahrenheit 451, which was a beautifully photographed misfire. My guess is that the show will be like USA’s recently canceled Shooter series. It’ll be full of thrilling action set piece, but will be less than engaging on a narrative and character level.
Are you planning to watch Treadstone? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Treadstone will start production in 2019.