It was only a matter of time until The Matrix franchise made its long-awaited return to contemporary pop culture. Discussions of a reboot or sequel have circulated the web for years, and in an age when both of these things are all the rage, it always seemed inevitable that Warner Bros. would return to one of its biggest cash cows in some form. Well, as we all expected, the murmurings weren’t baseless rumors after all.
Variety reports that franchise co-creator Lana Wachowski will write and direct the fourth film in the series, with original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss set to reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively. The script is being written by Lana Wachowski with Aleksander Hemon (Love Island) and David Mitchell (the novelist behind the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas), but if it remains to be seen if original co-creator Lilly Wachowski will be involved in any capacity.
The Variety report doesn’t confirm if Laurence Fishburne will return as Morpheus, either, though it does state that a younger actor might replace him. Earlier this year, Michael B. Jordan was allegedly being lined up to replace Reeves in a possible reboot. Perhaps he’s being eyed up to take over from Fishburne instead? We can only speculate at the time of this writing.
Regardless of whom they cast in whichever role, enough time has passed to make people miss the Matrix saga. While the sequels left much to be desired, the first movie is still an absolute banger, and its follow-ups do have their fans. The sequels aren’t perfect by any means, but there’s some good stuff in them for sure.
It’s also worth noting that it’s been 16 years since The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions hit our screens, which means that Lana Wachowski has had plenty of time since then to come up with some good ideas for a sequel. Say what you want about the quality of her overall oeuvre, but there’s enough brilliance in there to suggest that this movie won’t repeat the same mistakes as the current sequels.
Details of the plot are being kept under wraps for now, but it’ll be interesting to see how they proceed with the new movie. Given that Neo and Trinity seemingly died in the last film, one of the main challenges will be bringing them back in a way that makes sense.
Of course, when you consider the franchise’s fascination with Buddhism and spirituality, it’s possible that the sequel will focus on the idea of reincarnation. Maybe they’ll even call the film The Matrix: Reincarnation or The Matrix: Resurrection? Both of these titles will continue the series’ tradition of live-action sequels that begin with the letter R.
The last time we heard any significant news about a potential sequel, it seemed like Warner Bros. had other ideas in mind. Back in 2018, writer Zak Penn told ScreenRant that he was working on a treatment for the fourth film, only instead of a direct continuation of the series, the film would explore a different corner of this world and expand the cinematic universe. This could still happen.
You might be thinking that by expanding the Matrix cinematic universe, the franchise wants to replicate the success of Marvel and DC. By adopting a similar approach, the Matrix risks losing what makes it unique and special, right? Not at all.
The Matrix franchise has explored the concept of a shared universe in the past, albeit on a much smaller scale than what we’re used to seeing today. In 2003, The Animatrix featured a collection of anime-inspired shorts that took place within the Matrix world — and they didn’t specifically focus on the main characters.
For instance, one story chronicles the rise of the machines prior to the events of the first film. Another segment features a simulation that takes place in feudal Japan. In another tale, we see Kid — who also appears in the sequels — escape into the real world. The list goes on.
If the animated film tells us anything, it’s that the Matrix universe has the potential to explore a multitude of interesting avenues should they decide to unleash a shared cinematic universe down the line. Furthermore, the possibilities for interesting stories within it are endless.
The cool thing about the Matrix mythology is that it leaves room to explore and experiment with fresh ideas. If any established franchise can find ways to reinvent itself and move forward, it’s this one. Here’s hoping that the upcoming sequel doesn’t rely on milking nostalgia and retreading familiar ground. With Lana Wachowski involved, however, that won’t happen.