Why John Wick Director Chad Stahelski Played A Small Role In The Matrix Resurrections [Comic-Con]

"The Matrix Resurrections" was a passion project from the beginning. The subversive and meta sequel to "The Matrix Revolutions" revisited the dormant action franchise in a way that felt fresh while simultaneously picking back up right where the previous films left off. While making the film, director Lana Wachowski assembled Matrix alumni from all corners, from VFX supervisors to ADs, to make the movie a love letter to the franchise. One of those alums is director Chad Stahelski, who, way before helming films like the "John Wick" franchise, began as Keanu Reeves's stunt double in "The Matrix" before going on to become a stunt coordinator on the films.

The stuntman-turned-director revealed during Collider's Directors on Directing Panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 how Lana Wachowski approached him and others for roles in "The Matrix Resurrections." The reason for this reunion is an ode to the franchise she and her sister Lilly had started 23 years ago.

A bit role cemented in history

When asked about his role in "The Matrix Resurrections," Chad Stahelski went into detail about how he joined the project. "I owe most of my career to the Wachowskis, so when we got the call to do 'Matrix' 4, she wanted to do like a love letter and a big thing for all the crew of all the original matrixes," he recalled. "[Wachowski] wanted to put us all on camera. I owe my career to this [The Matrix]; I said, 'whatever you need sure. It's going to be great.'"

However, Stahelski would end up getting more than he bargained for, as his arrival on set was met with a heftier role than he expected:

"So I showed up and I said, 'There must be some mistake, there is like four pages here!' I kind of read it and I'm like, 'OK, I got this. I'm a big director. I was a stunt guy, no problem.' I showed up on set, I'm supposed to walk in with a croissant, be Carrie-Anne's husband, I got there, and I'm like 'Holy s***, that's Keanu Reeves and that's Carrie-Anne Moss!' I was a f***ing wreck. Like no cool whatsoever."

Stahelski had his work cut out for him, with his role in the film being one small aspect of a larger love letter to an action franchise that helped to define the action films of the '90s and onward. 

A tribute to The Matrix films of the past

At the panel, Tim Miller chimed in while Stahelski was telling his story, joking that a stunt man like Stahelski acting in a film is known as "stacting" in the industry. The stunt-man-turned-director eventually pulled himself together, as seen in his screentime in "The Matrix Resurrections." The role is a fun bit of trivia and adds to the overall themes of nostalgia and melancholic longing for simpler times that "The Matrix Resurrections" brought to the franchise. His presence in the film could also be interpreted an even more meta way, as his role in the movie is a husband to Carrie-Anne Moss in a simulation, replacing the character of Neo, whom Stahelski doubled for in the original "Matrix" film.

Lana Wachowski used this nostalgia both behind the scenes and in front of the camera creatively to push the narrative of "Resurrections" to subversive new heights. Stahelski believed he was in debt to the Wachowskis and "The Matrix," so it only makes sense that 20 years later, the director would return to the franchise that is so profoundly intertwined with his early career.