The Matrix 4: Everything We Know About The Next Installment Of The Classic Franchise
The Matrix 4 is the much-anticipated next movie in the hit sci-fi franchise. After much speculation, the movie was officially announced in August 2019 and started production in February 2020. Filming was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it resumed in August.
Few movies from the past two decades have had the impact of The Matrix. The movie, which was written and directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and starred Keanu Reeves, was released in June 1999 and was an instant commercial and critical hit. It was brilliantly written and directed mix of intelligent, philosophical sci-fi drama and inventive, thrilling action that broke new ground in terms of visual effects and, five years after Speed, crowned Reeves as the decade's greatest (and most unlikely) action star.
Anticipation was high for the two sequels, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, which were shot back-to-back and both released in 2003. Unfortunately, they were big disappointments, with muddled plotting and very little of the thrilling verve and imagination of the original. There is good stuff in both films, but most fans agreed that they simply didn't live up to the promise of the first movie. Years later, The Matrix is still revered as a modern classic, while the sequels feel like ill-conceived relics from another era.
Of course, sequels and reboots are nothing new in Hollywood, but this did feel like a movie series that was done and dusted--and for all it's many flaws, Matrix Revolutions did have a pretty conclusive ending. Nevertheless, rumors about The Matrix 4 emerged in May last year, and although these were initially denied, by August, Warner had officially confirmed that the movie was happening. So here's everything we know so far about The Matrix 4--and once you read that, check out why a new Matrix movie isn't necessarily a great idea.
Is there a title or release date?
The movie doesn't have an official title yet--and it's unlikely to be "The Matrix 4." But we know it'll arrive on December 22, 2021. This is the film's third release date, having initially moved from May this year to April 2022, before shifting back to 2021. As with all of Warner's big movies this year, it will hit HBO Max on the same day it is released in theaters.
Who's coming back?
It would be difficult to imagine a new Matrix movie with Keanu Reeves, and he will return to the role as Neo. He's joined by co-star Carrie-Ann Moss, who played Trinity in the previous films. Reeves' star profile is currently higher than it has been for years, with the on-going success of John Wick movies and last year's Bill & Ted Face the Music. Moss was most recently seen in Marvel Netflix show Jessica Jones, the second (and final) season of which was released in 2019. Other members of the original cast who is returning is Jada Pinkett Smith, who will reprise her role as Niobe from the second and third Matrix movies, and Lambert Wilson as The Merovingian, an old computer program that exists within the Matrix and takes on the appearance of a crime boss.
Three new actors have been announced so far for The Matrix 4. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who played Black Manta in last year's DC smash Aquaman, will take on a "lead role" in the movie. Abdul-Mateen II also appeared in Watchmen and the most recent season of Black Mirror. How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris has also been announced as part of the cast, as has Iron Fist's Jessica Henwick, as a "a female-like Neo character." Other new actors include Ellen Hollman (Spartacus), Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter), Priyanka Chopra (We Can Be Heroes), and Daniel Bernhardt (Birds of Prey).
Series co-creator Lana Wachowski will return to direct The Matrix 4, although she will doing so without sister Lilly. This will be Lana's first solo movie directing credit--not only did the pair helm the other three Matrix movies together, they also directed films such as Bound, Speed Racer, and Jupiter Ascending. One other key name from the older films that might also return is John Wick director Chad Stahelski, who worked as stunt coordinator on the previous movies. It was Stahelski who first leaked that Matrix 4 was in the works, and he has stated that he would love to be involved if the movie happens.
Who's writing the script?
The Matrix 4 will be written by Lana Wachowski, Aleksandar Hemon, and David Mitchell. Wachowski co-wrote the previous movies with Lilly, but this is the first time outside writers have been involved. Interestingly, both Hemon and Mitchell are best known as novelists rather than screenwriters. However, Hemon did previously work with the Wachowskis on their sci-fi TV show Sense8, while Mitchell's acclaimed 2004 novel Cloud Atlas was turned into a 2013 movie, co-directed by the Wachowskis.
What's the story?
We know very little about the plot of The Matrix 4, beyond the fact that Neo and Trinity will be back. Obviously the movie will have to deal with the fact that neither Neo or Trinity survive the end of Matrix Revolutions, but the end of that movie does leave the door slightly open for Neo's return, when the Oracle says she suspects she'll see him again "someday." The only other tiny slither of information comes via Reeves, who described the movie as "an inspiring love story" and "a call to wake up [with] some great action." The behind-the-scenes footage released so far suggests that at least some of the movie will be set within the Matrix--namely "our" world, as opposed to the "real" world of the other sequels.
There's one thing we can be sure of however--like its predecessors, The Matrix 4 will contain some amazing and inventive action. Henwick hinted at some of the visual treats in store in an interview last year, stating, "I think [Wachowksi] is going to change the industry again with this film. There's some camera rigs that I've never seen before that we're using. That's probably all I can say for that." In addition, recent on-set footage revealed some spectacular and very dangerous-looking aerial stunts being performed.