Get ready to take the red pill again. Lana Wachowski, who co-wrote and co-directed the groundbreaking action film The Matrix and its two less-well-received sequels, is currently prepping a fourth entry in the franchise — and yes, both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are both expected to return to play their iconic roles.
Details about The Matrix 4 remain scarce, but the film does have an official release date of May 21, 2021, and a few high-profile cast members have been revealed. Here’s everything we know about The Matrix 4 so far.
According to a Variety report, Warner Bros. has halted production on The Matrix 4 due to concerns surrounding coronavirus. It is unclear as to when production will begin again or if the halt will affect the May 21, 2021 release date.
It was only a matter of time before some unofficial photos from the set of The Matrix 4 found their way online, and that’s exactly what happened after Keanu Reeves was spotted on the streets of San Francisco shooting a scene for the film.
The San Francisco Examiner posted some photos taken by photojournalist Amanda Peterson, who was able to get some shots of Reeves while he was filming, as well as some photos of Reeves with franchise co-star Carrie-Anne Moss, who’s reprising the role of Trinity for the film. If there’s anything to glean from the photos, it’s that Reeves’ character, Neo, has apparently abandoned the all-black, cyberpunk look that ran through the original films in favor of a more laid-back wardrobe this time around.
Production and release date
Just a few months after officially confirming the fourth installment of the franchise, Warner Bros. Pictures gave The Matrix 4 (as it’s unofficially being called) a release date of May 21, 2021.
In an interesting bit of convergence (or possibly “Keanu-gence”), that date currently has the film premiering on the same weekend as John Wick: Chapter 4, Reeves’ other blockbuster franchise. It’s quite likely that one of the films will eventually be moved, given both franchises’ popularity.
Production on The Matrix 4 has begun, with Lana Wachowski returning to co-write and direct the latest entry in the franchise that she and her sister created.
“Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now,” Wachowski said in a statement. “I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”
Some of those friends include writer Aleksandar Hemon (Love Island) and David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), who co-wrote the Matrix 4 script alongside Wachowski. In addition to their film work, both Hemon and Mitchell are accomplished novelists, and both appeared in an episode of the Wachowskis’ Netflix series, Sense8.
So far, it doesn’t sound like the other Wachowski sibling will be involved in The Matrix 4, although Warner Bros. seems to think the franchise is safe in Lana’s hands. “We could not be more excited to be reentering The Matrix with Lana,” said Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich. “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.”
However, there’s a chance that John Wick director Chad Stahelski, who was Keanu Reeves’ stunt double and the stunt coordinator on the original Matrix movies, might return for the upcoming sequel. Before Warner Bros.’ official announcement, Stahelski leaked word that a fourth Matrix movie was in production and said that he’d “put down whatever I was doing to help” bring the sequel to fruition.
The Matrix just wouldn’t be The Matrix without Keanu Reeves, who played hacker-turned-digital-messiah Neo in the original trilogy. Well, good news: Reeves is back, as is his Matrix leading lady, Carrie-Anne Moss. Given both characters’ fates at the end of the original Matrix trilogy, the sequel will likely need to work out a clever way to reincorporate Neo and Trinity into the story, but that shouldn’t prove too difficult for a series that dabbles in mysticism, virtual reality, and massive plot twists.
The most recent addition to the cast is Spartacus alum Ellen Hollman, according to The Wrap. No information about her role is currently known.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas also stars in an undisclosed role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In mid-October, How I Met Your Mother and Gone Girl actor Neil Patrick Harris (pictured below) joined the cast of the film in an unidentified role. The part he’ll play is unknown, but the film will be Harris’ first blockbuster-level feature for a major movie studio.
The Matrix 4 will also feature Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (below), who’s best known to audiences as Black Manta in 2018’s Aquaman, in a lead role. Abdul-Mateen II has also appeared in Black Mirror, The Get Down, 2017’s big-screen Baywatch reboot, and has a starring role in HBO’s Watchmen.
Which character Abdul-Mateen II will play in The Matrix 4 is currently unknown, although rumors suggest that he could be appearing as a younger version of Morpheus, the role that Laurence Fishburne originated in the original Matrix series.
Neither Fishburne nor Hugo Weaving, who portrayed the villainous A.I. Agent Smith in The Matrix and its sequels, have been announced for the fourth installment. Another unlikely reprisal? Joe Pantoliano’s Cypher. Speaking with Cinema Blend, the actor said “I doubt they’re going to be bringing me back. I’ve lobbied for it, believe me. I’ve sent little notes to Lana [Wachowski] and asked her, to no response.
Updated on April 27, 2020: Added comments from actor Joe Pantoliano.
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