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Jason Bourne
First appearance The Bourne Identity
Film: The Bourne Identity
Last appearance The Bourne Deception
Film: The Bourne Ultimatum
Created by Robert Ludlum
Portrayed by Richard Chamberlain
Matt Damon
Jeff Pierce
(Video Game only)
Aliases Jean-Pierre (Identity),
Delta One,
Jason Charles Bourne,
John Michael Kane,
Charles Briggs,
George P. Washburn,
Foma Kiniaev,
Mr. Cruet (Supremacy),
Gilberto de Piento,
Paul Kay
Gender Male
Spouse(s) Marie St. Jacques (beginning with Supremacy) (novels only)
Children Jamie Webb, Alison Webb, Joshua Webb (Known as Khan in The Bourne Legacy) (novels only)

Jason Charles Bourne, born David Webb, is a fictional character in the novels of Robert Ludlum and subsequent film adaptations. He first appeared in the novel The Bourne Identity (1980). This novel was first adapted for television in 1988, and then adapted on film in 2002 under a title of the same name.

The character has been in seven sequel novels (the last four of which are written by Eric Van Lustbader with another novel due to release in 2010). Along with the first feature film, The Bourne Identity (2002), Jason Bourne also appears in two sequel movies The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Actor Matt Damon stated in November 2009 that no script had been approved (for a fourth film) and that he hoped that a film would begin shooting in mid-2011.[2] The next month however, he said that he would not do another Bourne film without Paul Greengrass, who announced in late November that he had decided not to return as director.[3]


Novel Universe



Jason Bourne has a tormented past, which continues to influence him throughout his lifetime. Jason Bourne is but one of many aliases used by David Webb. Webb is a career foreign service officer and a specialist in Far Eastern affairs. Before the events in The Bourne Identity, Webb had a Thai wife named Dao and two children named Joshua and Alyssa in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Webb's wife and two children were inadvertently killed during the Vietnam War when a fighter plane strayed into Cambodia, dropped two bombs and strafed a spot near the Mekong River. Due to Cambodia's neutrality in the war, every nation disclaimed the plane, and therefore no one took responsibility for the incident. Since he had nothing left, Webb went to Saigon and elected to train for an elite Top Secret Special Forces unit called Medusa, which would remain a Top Secret unit for many years. In Medusa, Webb was known only as Delta One, his code name within the unit.


David Webb's life was consumed by his membership in Medusa. Webb was recruited into Medusa during Vietnam by friend and CIA officer Alexander Conklin after the death of Webb's wife and children. Webb was furious with the tragedy of his loss, and sought revenge by joining Medusa. Webb blamed the North Vietnamese for the death of his family. Medusa remained Top Secret in order to conceal the criminal histories of many of its members, who were identified by the American government during the war. Initially Medusa was designed to infiltrate parts of Northern Vietnam, and kill suspected members of the Viet Cong and its collaborators. Medusa was considered an assassination team or death squad. Each member of Medusa was paid for their work performing assassinations for the United States Government.

Most of Medusa's members were murderers, fugitives, smugglers, arms dealers, or drug lords. Delta One ran Medusa with an iron fist, and became well known for his ruthlessness, his disregard for orders, and his disturbing success rate on his missions. However, Delta's identity as David Webb became known to too many people, resulting in the kidnapping of his brother, U. S. Army Lieutenant Gordon Webb, during his tour of duty in Saigon.

The original team member named Jason Charles Bourne was discovered to be a double agent during the mission to save David Webb's brother. Australian-born Bourne was involved in illegal activity including slavery, narcotics, smuggling, and assassinations. When Delta discovered Bourne's status as a double agent, he executed Bourne in the jungles of Tam Quan. Bourne was trying to expose the secret rescue of Gordon Webb. This was on March 25, 1968. Bourne's murder by Delta was never exposed due to the Top Secret status of Medusa.

Operation Treadstone

Years later, a black ops arm of the CIA was formed called Treadstone Seventy-One, named after a building on New York's Seventy-First Street, and Webb was called up by the creator of Treadstone and the creator of Medusa, David Abbott, who was nicknamed The Monk, short for The Silent Monk of Covert Operations. At this point, Webb (Delta) takes the identity of Jason Bourne due to his status as MIA in the war and the fact that Bourne was in reality a ruthless killer with a long criminal record. The point of all this was to turn Jason Bourne into something more than he really was, a contract assassin who would be known all over the world for terminating the lives of just about anyone. The assassin's alias was Cain. The reasoning for creating such a myth was to create competition for a well known assassin named Carlos, or Carlos the Jackal, real name Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, who at that time was considered the world's best and most famous assassin. The name Cain was chosen because it had some significance for what he was doing. During Vietnam, Cain was used instead of Charlie in the phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot...) because Charlie became synonymous with Viet Cong. So Delta dropped back one letter to Cain, which stood for Charlie. In Spanish, Charlie is Carlos; Carlos was Venezuelan. The myth of Cain was created by having Cain take credit for any well publicized killings that took place in Asia, and later Europe, regardless of the circumstances. By creating this myth, Cain was to drive Carlos out in the open and capture him. To add insult to Carlos's name, Cain stole the credit for Carlos's kills, even if Cain had no part. Later in the story, Cain learns of a contract Carlos accepted on an Ambassador Leland, which he attempted to prevent. However, Cain was unsuccessful and ended up being shot several times, and left for dead in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. He would later be recovered by a fishing boat and wake up as an amnesiac, presumably a side effect of the gunshot wounds and time spent drifting in the sea.



Bourne fights to learn about his past and his true identity throughout the novel despite being chased by both the CIA and Carlos' henchmen. During the novel, at a hotel, Bourne takes a young woman hostage to escape. This woman, named Marie St. Jacques, is an employee of the Canadian government. Bourne and Marie start discovering the identity of Jason Bourne, the contract assassin. The true identity of David Webb is known only to those at Treadstone. She is convinced that the man she knows as Jason Bourne cannot be the ruthless killer that all discoveries they make seem to imply. It is due to Marie that Jason continues to search for his true identity and in the end finds the truth. Through this time, Bourne continually has the phrase "Cain is for Charlie, and Delta is for Cain" flash through his mind, propelling him in the direction of his mission. Charlie refers to Carlos in Spanish and Bourne (Cain) is to replace him. His amnesia attack stops him from remembering anything that happened in his life now he has to find his place in society even though the police think him a murderer.

Between the books Identity and Supremacy, Bourne marries Marie and they both settle down (although under guard) in a small town in Maine. David Webb would go on to become an associate professor in Asian studies at a local university.


When Supremacy starts, Marie is taken captive by the United States government in an attempt to turn David Webb back into his former self, the mythical Jason Bourne. While in reality it was the U.S. government who took Marie captive, it has pinned the blame on a fictitious powerful Chinese drug lord. This scheme was conducted to send Bourne after a phony Jason Bourne who had been credited with a Far East political assassination that could, in a worst-case scenario, cause a civil war in China over the ownership of Hong Kong.


As Carlos the Jackal enters old age and his infamy fades, he decides that he will do two things before he dies: the first is to kill Jason Bourne. Webb's family is forced to hide in the Caribbean while Webb himself works with old friend and CIA agent Alex Conklin to hunt down and kill the Jackal first. Webb poses as an important member of Medusa, now a nearly omnipotent economic force that controls the commander of NATO, leading figures in the Defense Department, and large NYSE firms. The plan is to use Medusa's resources to contact the Jackal. Webb just misses the Jackal several times, including when the Jackal locates Webb's family in the Caribbean, before Webb stages his own death and convinces the Jackal that he has succeeded. Following this, the Jackal turns to his second goal: to destroy the KGB facility of Novgorod, where the Jackal was trained and later turned away. His files with his real identity were still stored there. Webb tracks the Jackal down with the help of Conklin and a KGB agent as the Jackal begins destroying the KGB compound. In a final confrontation, Webb at last kills the Jackal and returns to his family.


With the climactic events of The Bourne Ultimatum behind him, Jason Bourne is able to once again become David Webb, now professor of linguistics at Georgetown University. However, this serenity does not last for long and, when a silenced gunshot narrowly misses Webb's head; the Bourne Persona reawakens in him yet again. Bourne's first objective is to get to his long time friend and handler at the CIA, Alex Conklin. However, unbeknownst (as yet) to Bourne, a Hungarian by the name of Stephan Spalko has now drawn Jason into a web—one which he cannot escape as easily as his professorial facade.


Jason Bourne takes a mission to rescue his only friend in the CIA, Martin Lindros, who disappeared in Africa while tracking shipments of yellowcake uranium. Once safely back in America, Lindros persuades Bourne to help track the money trail of terrorists buying the nuclear material in Odessa. But once there, Bourne is hampered by confusing flashbacks of unfamiliar places and events and he wonders: Is someone brainwashing him in order to throw him off the trail? Worse, is the man he saved in Africa really Martin Lindros? Now, Bourne must gather evidence while trying to stay one step ahead of the terrorists who won't let anyone stand in their way of destroying the U.S.



Jason Bourne's nemesis, Arkadin, is still hot on his trail and the two continue their struggle, reversing roles of hunter and hunted. When Bourne is ambushed and badly wounded, he fakes his death and goes into hiding. In safety, he takes on a new identity, and begins a mission to find out who tried to assassinate him. Jason begins to question who he really is, how much of him is tied up in the Bourne identity, and what he would become if that was suddenly taken away from him. Meanwhile, an American passenger airliner is shot down over Egypt by what seems to be an Iranian missile. A massive global investigative team is assembled to get at the truth of the situation before it can escalate into an international scandal. Jason Bourne's search for the man who shot him intersects with the search for the people that brought down the airliner, leading Bourne into one of the most deadly and challenging situations he has ever encountered. With the threat of a new world war brewing, Bourne finds himself in a race against time to uncover the truth and find the person behind his assault, all the while being stalked by his unknown nemesis.


The Bourne Objective is the upcoming eighth novel in the Bourne series by Eric Van Lustbader. The book is set to release in the summer of 2010, sequel to The Bourne Deception. This novel is about how Jason Bourne must now contribute in a secret FBI search for a serial killer unknown to America and could be a serious threat to the United States. The unknown killer plans to destabilize the American economy and taking over the country himself rebuilding it into his own kingdom as a dictatorship.

Television movie

In 1988 a two-part made-for-television movie of The Bourne Identity aired on ABC. It starred Richard Chamberlain in the role of Jason Bourne and Jaclyn Smith as Marie St. Jacques. The TV movie was largely faithful to Robert Ludlum's novel, both in plot as well as in the portrayal of the character of Jason Bourne.

Film universe

In the films, the character of Jason Bourne, portrayed by Matt Damon, is a much simpler character than the one described in the novels. The background story omits the Vietnam War and the character of Carlos the Jackal.


In the film, Bourne was born in Nixa, Missouri. He joined the Army, eventually volunteering for Special Forces, becoming a Green Beret and attaining the rank of Captain. His dog tags identified him as being Catholic. It was here that he was offered the opportunity to volunteer for Operation Treadstone, under which he endured behavioral modification, involving sleep deprivation, repeated submerging in water, gagging and binding. His final test was to kill a man, after which he was informed that his transformation into Jason Bourne was complete. He initially refused to shoot the unknown man, but after persuasion he capitulated and killed the subject.

Bourne was highly trained in the CIA's protocols and trade crafts. His skills include expertise in hand-to-hand combat, firearms, knives, and explosives, handling numerous vehicles, and speaking fluent English, French, Russian, German, and Spanish. He may also speak Arabic, Dutch and Hungarian. Although he has never shown speaking Portuguese, he holds a Brazilian passport as Gilberto do Piento and a Portuguese passport.

Once his training was complete, Bourne was deployed as a covert assassin. He completed his missions mechanically, without knowledge of his subjects' identity or the crimes they had allegedly committed. On a job in France, he had a sudden attack of conscience when he saw his target in the company of his children. Bourne aborted his mission, and was shot in the back twice while attempting to escape. He awakens with his memory gone.

The character of Bourne in the films is a very quick-thinking, linear type of person who moves quickly and brutally towards his goal. He gives the impression of someone who has been severely traumatized and who is suffering from paranoia. He is tormented by fragment memories of his past. He is highly adept at hand-to-hand combat. He also shows an immediate ability to utilize lateral thinking to solve problems. He sometimes uses improvised weapons, for example using a pen to stab an assassin in The Bourne Identity and using a book and a towel in The Bourne Ultimatum. He is shown using tactical improvisation such as using a fan, torch light and tape to fake his location (The Bourne Ultimatum) and gas, a toaster and a magazine to cause an explosion (Bourne Supremacy). He is also proficient with firearms, explosives, electronics and evasive protocols — for moving, driving, and the like.


Video games

A video game titled The Bourne Conspiracy was released in 2008 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The Ludlum estate obtained the rights to the video game franchise and sold it to Electronic Arts in 2009. EA plans to make several Bourne games. The first Bourne game will be developed by Starbreeze Studios.[4]


The Bourne franchise consists of several novels, movies, and a video game, all featuring one of the several versions of the Jason Bourne character.


  1. ^ “The Bourne Identity” by Robert Ludlum » Pbur’s Adventures
  2. ^ "Exclusive Matt Damon Interview". 12 November 2009. p. 6. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Sperling, Nicole (2009-12-04). "Matt Damon on 'Bourne 4': 'I wouldn't do it without Paul Greengrass'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 05 December 2009. 
  4. ^ GameSpot News: Bourne license surfaces at EA


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