The Matrix is probably one of the most recognizable, genre-bending, era-defining movie trilogies of all time, launching a multimedia franchise worth $3 Billion. Much like Demogorgons and DnD, the Matrix franchise is a cultural icon that has shaped the way we see AI, given rise to philosophical discussions about the technological singularity, and has shown us a glimpse of a dystopian future of mankind’s fall.
The Matrix franchise includes the original trilogy, an animated anthology, a feature-length documentary, video games, and comic books, not to mention making an indelible mark on pop culture.
And now, 18 years after The Matrix Revolutions, and after decades of rumors and gossip about reboots and further franchise expansions, we’re finally getting out first glimpses at The Matrix 4.
The Matrix 4: A Tentative Title
With just a few months away before its worldwide cinematic release, Warner Bros. finally debuted the very first preview of the Matrix 4 in August 2021 during CinemaCon. Tentatively titled Matrix 4: Resurrections, CinemaCon security was so tight that (so far) no bootleg copy of the teaser trailer has been spotted online, although from what attendees are reporting, the trailer was pretty much everything we ever asked for: ominous, mysterious, intriguing, and while seeing Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus back in action is a definite throwback, the film seems to offer so much more than just relying on nostalgia.
No word yet on when the trailer drops to the public domain, but we’re hoping that it’s soon, especially since the worldwide release is slated for a December 22, 2021 release!
Lana Wachowski Returns for Matrix 4
Confirmed back in 2019, the original co-director of the Matrix franchise, Lana Wachowski, is helming the Matrix 4 project. She and her sister Lilly Wachowski co-created, co-produced, and co-directed the original trilogy from 1999 to 2003, although only Lana is reported to return to the director’s chair.
In a separate statement, Lilly Wachowski mentioned that she had passed on the project because of painful memories surrounding their experience directing The Matrix 3: Revolutions, most of which concern her personal journey of transitioning and dealing with the death of their parents, which happened only 5 weeks apart from each other.
Lilly Wachowski has mentioned that, while she respects Lana’s decision to make the Matrix 4, she would personally not want to return, choosing instead to move forward and focus on new projects instead of revisiting a ‘painful time’ of her life. Instead, Lilly Wachowski is focusing on her TV directing duties. Reports say that, despite these differences, there is absolutely no bad blood between the sisters.
Meanwhile, Lana Wachowski has expressed her complete delight at revisiting characters, settings, and stories in the Matrix 4, saying:
“Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”
Unlike the previous movies, which the Wachowski sisters co-wrote and directed, Lana Wachowski directed Matrix 4 on her own, with a script written by herself, Cloud Atlas writer David Mitchell, and The Lazarus Project writer Aleksander Hemon. Filming for Matrix 4 began in February 2020, then halted a month later because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Filming resumed in August of 2020, with principal photography wrapping in November of the same year. A worldwide cinema release for Matrix 4 is set for December 22, 2021.
Who Are The Matrix 4 Cast?
It wouldn’t be the Matrix without Neo and Trinity, and Matrix 4 doesn’t disappoint, bringing back the two mains stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss to reprise their iconic roles. Given Neo and Trinity’s fates in the final movie, their return is one of the biggest mysteries about the movie, with online forums already rife with fan theories, although neither the studios, the stars, the directors, nor the writers have confirmed any of the popular theories on online forums and on Nightbot.
Joining the main cast is the return of a few other iconic characters, with Jada Pinkett-Smith set to return as Niobe, captain of the Logos and Morpheus’ significant other. Lambert Wilson’s The Merovingian, a deadly, rogue program within the Matrix is also set to return. Daniel Bernhardt, who plays Agent Johnson (the ‘upgraded’ Agent from The Matrix: Reloaded) is also making a comeback.
Meanwhile, a ton of new faces will be joining the cast, with Aquaman’s Black Manta Yahya Abdul-Mateen II making an appearance in the trailer as an undisclosed character. Neil Patrick Harris is also set to star in the Matrix 4, with the Broadway legend making a brief appearance in the CinemaCon trailer as well. Other stars joining the cast are Iron Fist’s Jessica Henwich, Mindhunter and Hamilton star Jonathan Groff, Priyanka Chopra, Sense8 (another Wachowski Sisters collab) veterans Brian J. Smith, Max Riemelt, and Toby Onwumere are also set to appear, while Christina Ricci’s role in the film was confirmed in June of 2021.
But while the return of Neo and Trinity are a welcome treat, fans were severely disappointed when it was announced early on that Laurence Fishburne will not be returning in Matrix 4. Although no official reason had been given, many fans assume it is because the character Morpheus dies in a hail of bullets in the sequel video game The Matrix Online.
Why Neo and Trinity were resurrected and Morpheus was not, however, is yet another mystery that remains to be explored. There are some rumors that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will be playing a ret-conned Morpheus, or even a younger version of Morpheus himself, and while he does make an appearance in the CinemaCon trailer, no confirmation has yet to be made about his role in Matrix 4.
Yet another major character not coming back for Matrix 4 is one of the most iconic villains of pop culture, Agent Smith. In The Matrix: Revolutions, Agent Smith, who had grown out of control and taken over the entire Matrix, was destroyed by Neo in a final, epic battle. While fans were hoping to see Agent Smith and Neo square off one more time in Matrix 4, Hugo Weaving has confirmed that he is not part of the project, citing scheduling difficulties and previous commitments as reasons why he was unable to work with Lana Wachowski for the fourth installment.
Can it still be the same Matrix without Agent Smith and Morpheus? Fans are divided on the internet, but Lana Wachowski promises that the Matrix 4 will be a continuation, of sorts, of the original franchise, and that fans will not be disappointed by how the story will pick up.
What Will Matrix 4 Be About?
As of August 2021, there have been zero plot details released officially by anyone involved in the project. So far, the only things the public have seen about the Matrix 4 are production stills, a short teaser trailer involving a mishmash of action scenes, some dialogue and some really cool visuals involving Thomas Anderson (Neo’s Pre-Matrix identity) interacting with Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Ann Moss, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, not to mention the announcement of Matrix 4’s official title: Resurrections. Other than that, pretty much everyone involved in the project has been tight-lipped about any plot details regarding Matrix 4.
With Matrix 4 being released 22 years after the first film’s release and 18 years after the release of The Matrix: Revolutions, fans are eager to see whether the franchise will stand the test of time and whether it can pioneer story-telling and visual effects the same way it did with the original movie. Given how the original series (plus the comic books and the videogame) ended, it will be extremely interesting to see how Lana Wachowski plans to bring back so many characters from death. But I guess that’s why the movie is titled Resurrections?
The original movie was, without a shadow of a doubt, groundbreaking in how it told the story of Neo, and how they showed it, with 1999’s The Matrix bringing the ‘gun-fu’ style of cinematic fighting, not to mention the concept of bullet-time, into mainstream Western cinema. And we haven’t even mentioned the absolute impact it has made on society as a whole, from predicting the ways tech will transform healthcare to how AI is going to be critical in Man’s social and cultural evolution.
What innovations could Matrix 4 possibly provide cinemagoers, and will it have the same impact and importance as the first trilogy, which is, at its core, a re-telling of Plato’s The Cave and interspersed with themes of death, resurrection, divinity, Man’s role in creation, and other philosophical subtexts? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
When Is Matrix 4 Coming Out?
Announced in 2019, the Matrix 4 was originally slated for a May 2021 release. However, the Covid-19 pandemic pushed back the date to almost a year later, with the movie being eyed for a final release date of December 22, 2021, in cinemas worldwide.
HBO Max will also be streaming the movie for a month starting December 22 of 2021.