In 2002, Universal Pictures released its hit spy thriller “The Bourne Identity,” based on a novel series by Robert Ludlum. The film, starring Matt Damon as amnesiac spy-assassin Jason Bourne, would be expanded into four movies showcasing Bourne’s struggle with finding his past and freeing himself from the specter of Treadstone, the black-ops CIA program that molded him into a programmable killer. An attempt to expand the franchise even without Damon as the titular character led to 2012 spinoff “The Bourne Legacy” with Jeremy Renner. Now, Universal is looking to television to develop a show spinoff, premiering on USA Network.
According to The Verge, Universal Cable Productions and Captivate Entertainment are soon to premiere “Treadstone,” an action drama series on USA Network that will tie into the larger setting of the “Bourne” film franchise. The show was initially given a pilot order back in 2018, but before production of the pilot could begin, USA Network instead ordered “Treadstone” direct to series. The overall plot of the show is to chronicle the origins of Operation Treadstone, the CIA black project that turns recruits into assassins via physical and psychological torment to produce operatives capable of living mundane lives until “programmed” by orders to carry out missions.
In preparation for the release of “Treadstone,” Universal has released a short teaser for viewers in order to help them get a feel for what the series will be about. A tagline reinforces the tangible connection with the original films, stating the series is set in “the world of Jason Bourne.” Snippets in the preview showcase political powder kegs like post-Soviet Moscow and Pyongyang. And then, with the tagline “The Sleepers Awaken,” the three main characters are shown, sleeper agents of the Treadstone program that abruptly awaken from their cover identities and cause some havoc.
More information on the series is elaborated on the first trailer. Apparently two Treadstone agents have their programmed combat and assassination training surface at times, but could not recall much about them. A CIA agent is then dispatched to find these sleepers to fully awaken them, something they either avoid or are weary of. The show stars Jeremy Irvine and Han Hyo-Joo as the sleepers, Michelle Forbes as a CIA agent, and Emilia Schule as a KGB operative, all operating under the sinister black-ops umbrella of the mysterious Treadstone program.
Developed by “Heroes” creator Tim Kring, “Treadstone” looks to be Universal’s answer to Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” series. The show itself premieres October on USA Network.
Image from Den of Geek