Warner Bros. to produce fourth Matrix film, Keanu Reeves returning

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On Tuesday, Warner Bros. announced it’s producing a fourth “Matrix” film. Moreover, the studio announced that original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss would return to the sequel. Lana Wachowski, one half of the duo behind the original “Matrix” trilogy, will helm the new film.

Details on the New Movie

Aside from confirming its existence, Warner Bros. has been fairly tight-lipped about its “Matrix” revival. It’s unknown if the franchise’s other key players, including Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving, will be part of the film. It’s also unknown why Lili Wachowski, the franchise’s other architect, isn’t joining Lana in resurrecting the series.

However, Variety reported the fourth “Matrix” would go into production early next year. The publication also noted that the new film would feature a script by Wachowski, Aleksandar Hemon, and David Mitchell. Hemon is best known for his work as a novelist and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant. Mitchell is an acclaimed novelist who collaborated with Wachowski on the 2012 film “Cloud Atlas.”

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Both men worked with the “Matrix” filmmaker on “Sense8,” a science-fiction program Wachowski created with her sister Lili and J. Michael Straczynski.

Warner Bros. released the last film in the series, “The Matrix Revolutions,” in 2003. The film series will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a re-release of the original “Matrix” later this month.

Should There Be Another ‘Matrix’ Film?

*Spoilers for the now 16-year-old “Matrix” trilogy ahead*

On the one hand, it’s exciting that one of the best action directors of the last few decades is returning to the franchise that made them famous. Upon its initial release in 1999, “The Matrix” changed the way Hollywood made its blockbusters. Furthermore, knowing Wachowski is bringing Reeves and Moss with her to revive the franchise makes the project even more appealing.

On the other hand, the “Matrix” trilogy doesn’t call out for a follow-up. Though deeply flawed, “Revolutions” wrapped up the franchise’s narrative in grand fashion. Neo affected what seemed to be a lasting peace between the human rebels and the machine empire. Afterward, Neo died after realizing his destiny in the last movie’s grand finale.

No matter how clever Wachowski, Hemon, and Mitchell’s new script is, it will undo the franchise’s graceful original ending.

Besides, the “Matrix” films didn’t exactly go out on a high note. The first movie in the series is innovative, thrilling, and legitimately mind-bending. But its two sequels are bogged down by tedious world-building, endless philosophizing, and profoundly unappetizing orgy sequences. As time has gone by, Wachowski’s film and TV works have become increasingly opaque. While her ability to stage compelling action sequences remains undiminished, it’s unknown if she can still captivate a broad audience.

Nevertheless, it seems likely the fourth “Matrix” film will, at the very least, have a strong opening weekend. Thanks to the success of the “John Wick” series, Keanu Reeves is once again an A-lister. In addition, contemporary filmgoers have typically rewarded revivals of beloved media properties of yesteryear.

Nevertheless, it’ll be fascinating to see what the franchise’s dystopia looks like reimagined for an era when machine intelligence, virtual reality, and superhero narratives have become ubiquitous.