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New Bourne villain to be played by Vincent Cassel in Snowden-inspired sequel

The Bourne series is bringing back its titular hero, Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon), and this time around, he’ll face trouble from a new villain played by Vincent Cassel. Variety reported the casting of the French actor today, just days after Damon revealed to BuzzFeed that the anticipated new film will incorporate some topical subject matter, including outspoken whistle blower-in-hiding, Edward Snowden.

Snowden, of course, is known for leaking classified information about government surveillance programs, making privacy and civilian oversight a major topic of conversation around the world. For Damon and director Paul Greengrass, this also served as inspiration. The two have had discussions over the years about making another Bourne film, and finally they felt that “enough has changed” in the world to give Bourne something to say, said Damon.

Related: Tommy Lee Jones will bring his flippant air to Matt Damon in fifth Bourne installment

“There are all these kinds of arguments about spying and civil liberties and the nature of democracy,” explained the actor. The film will look at these issues by following Bourne “through an austerity-riddled Europe and in a post-Snowden world.”

For Cassel, this may mean that his character has the advantage of using these government tools to track down the super-assassin. Sources tell Variety that he’ll join the many antagonists who have hunted for Bourne. In spite of his initial bout of amnesia, the former spy has managed to stay alive for three films so far, from 2002’s The Bourne Identity to 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum. Damon opted not to return for a fourth film, so Jeremy Renner played a new hero in 2012’s Bourne Legacy.

Cassel and Damon will be joined by meteoric actress Alicia Vikander, and veteran Tommy Lee Jones, both of whom are new to the series. Also confirmed is Julia Stiles, who will reprise her role as covert agent Nicky Parsons after sitting out for Legacy. Greengrass is returning as both director and co-writer for Bourne 5. Christopher Rouse will share script-writing duties, plus serve as executive producer alongside Henry Morrison. Frank Marshall, Jeffrey Weiner, Greengrass, Damon, Greg Goodman, and Ben Smith will all produce.

Related: HBO announces September return of Project Greenlight with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

Along with starring in a host of movies in his native France, Cassel’s credits include roles in Black SwanOcean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, among others.

The next installment in the Bourne series will hit theaters on July 29, 2016.