the matrix reboot

Update: If you’re wondering what’s going on with Morpheus in this story, a new report indicates that we could see a younger version of that character pop up in this film. Our original report continues, and you can read the Morpheus-related update embedded within.

The Matrix turned 20 years old this year and here’s one way to celebrate: Warner Bros. has announced that The Matrix 4 is officially in the works. After years of rumors and tales of reboots and a revolving door of talented folks all taking a crack at this iconic and mind-bending universe, the new film will return to where it all began. Keanu Reeves will return as Neo, Carrie-Anne Moss will return as Trinity, and Lana Wachowski, who co-wrote and co-directed the original trilogy with her sister Lilly, will co-write, produce, and direct. Whoa, indeed.

Variety broke the news, and their report comes loaded with comments from folks involved in the film. You know, just in case you’re like me and thought, “There’s no way they actually ever make a Matrix 4” and need some extra convincing. First, here’s Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich on Lana returning to the franchise that catapulted her and her sister to blockbuster status:

“We could not be more excited to be re-entering the Matrix with Lana. Lana is a true visionary — a singular and original creative filmmaker — and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”

And while Lilly Wachowski is not returning for reasons that are not explained in this report, Lana does mention her in a statement:

“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.”

Lana Wachowski co-wrote the screenplay with Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell. The former is an actor who worked with the Wachowskis on the late and beloved Netflix series Sense8. The latter could very well be the acclaimed author of Cloud Atlas, whose novel was adapted into an ambitious film by the Wachowskis back in 2012. Variety reports that production could begin in early 2020.

Update: Variety’s Justin Kroll provides an answer about how Morpheus could be involved. (He says “Morbius” in this tweet, but later clarified that he actually meant Laurence Fishburne‘s character in The Matrix films.)

This news arrives as The Matrix celebrates its twentieth anniversary. The original film, a kaleidoscopic blend of Hong Kong-inspired action, heavy science fiction, and all of your favorite anime, reinvented what a studio blockbuster could be. While the sequels did not inspire quite as much devotion (although yours truly thinks they’ve aged quite well and are genuinely worth a revisit!), this franchise remains a cultural touchstone whose impact is still felt to this day. Everyone of a certain age remembers seeing The Matrix for the first time. I know I do. And you do, too.

Of course, we have…questions. Many questions. Sure, The Matrix Revolutions ended with an open door – the war between man and machine reached an uneasy peace – but it also ended with Neo and Trinity dead, the final fallen soldiers in the war to save both the Matrix and the real world. How will Reeves and Moss return when their characters died? Maybe they were somehow uploaded into the Matrix and they can live on in digital form even as their human bodies cease to function? We will see!

There is no release or title for The Matrix 4 just yet. But I imagine we’ll know more soon.

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