The Matrix 4 (2021)
The Matrix Resurrections
The Matrix Resurrections is an upcoming American science fiction action film produced, co-written, and directed by Lana Wachowski. It is the sequel to The Matrix Revolutions (2003) and serves as the fourth installment in The Matrix film series overall. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith reprise their roles from previous films in the series, and they are joined by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Christina Ricci.
Following the release of Revolutions, the Wachowskis denied the possibility of another Matrix film, having intended the third film to be the trilogy's conclusion, though rumors emerged since then about a possible fourth Matrix film and the studio expressed interest in reviving the franchise and hired Zak Penn to write a new screenplay. In late 2019, a fourth Matrix film was finally announced, with Lana Wachowski returning as director without her sister and Reeves and Moss reprising their roles. Filming started in February 2020 but was halted the next month by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wachowski toyed with the possibility of shelving the project and leaving the film unfinished, but the cast insisted that she finish it. Filming resumed in August 2020, concluding three months later.
The film will be a joint production by Village Roadshow Pictures and Venus Castina Productions. The Matrix Resurrections will have its world premiere on December 18, 2021 in San Francisco and is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures theatrically on December 22, 2021. It will also stream digitally on the ad-free tier of HBO Max in the United States for a month beginning on that same date.
Twenty years after the events of The Matrix Revolutions, Neo lives a seemingly ordinary life as Thomas A. Anderson in San Francisco where his therapist prescribes him blue pills. Neither he nor Trinity recognize each other. However, Morpheus offers him the red pill and reopens his mind to the world of the Matrix.
- Keanu Reeves as Thomas Anderson / Neo
- Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity
- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Morpheus. The character was originally portrayed by Laurence Fishburne in the previous films.
- Jessica Henwick as Bugs
- Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe
- Lambert Wilson as The Merovingian
- Daniel Bernhardt as Agent Johnson
- Eréndira Ibarra as Lexy
Additionally, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci, Telma Hopkins, Max Riemelt, Toby Onwumere, Brian J. Smith, Andrew Caldwell, and Ellen Hollman have been cast in undisclosed roles.
While making the Matrix films, the Wachowskis told their close collaborators that they, at the time, had no intention of making another film in the series after The Matrix Revolutions (2003). Instead, they gave their blessing to the notion of gamers "inherit the storyline", and The Matrix Online video game was billed as the official continuation. Rumors of a new installment began to circulate online in 2011 when it was reported that the Wachowskis had been planning two additional films in the series and had discussions with Keanu Reeves about reprising his role as Neo. Another rumor in 2014 claimed that the sisters had submitted a story treatment for a new Matrix trilogy to Warner Bros. These were later confirmed to be false.
In February 2015, in interviews promoting Jupiter Ascending (2015), Lilly Wachowski called a return to The Matrix a "particularly repelling idea in these times" when studios preferred to green-light sequels, reboots, and adaptations over original material, while Lana Wachowski, addressing rumors about a potential reboot, said they had not heard anything but believed the studio might be looking to replace them. At various times, Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving each confirmed their interest and willingness to reprise their roles in potential future installments of the Matrix films, with the stipulation that the Wachowskis were involved in the creative and production process.
In March 2017, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Warner Bros. was in the early stages of developing a relaunch of the franchise, with Zak Penn in talks to write a treatment, and interest in getting Michael B. Jordan attached to star. Neither of the Wachowskis was involved at that stage, although the studio had hoped for their blessing. The notion of a reboot or remake was denounced by Penn, and ideas for stories set in the already established universe were explored, including, reportedly, a prequel film about a young Morpheus or a sequel film from a descendant of his. In March 2018, Penn said he was working on a revival of the franchise and teased the possibility of an expanded universe. Penn clarified in October 2019 that he had been working on one of two Matrix projects at Warner Bros., and that his work was separate from the planned film.
The film was officially announced by Warner Bros. on August 20, 2019. Lana Wachowski returned as sole director, with Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss confirmed to reprise their roles. The script was written by Wachowski, David Mitchell, and Aleksandar Hemon, who had previously written the series finale of Sense8 together. The Wachowskis also previously directed the 2012 film adaptation of Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas. Lilly Wachowski was not involved with the film due to work on the Showtime series Work in Progress, but gave her blessing to those involved to come up with a story even "better than the original". She further elaborated by stating that she needed time away from the industry to "reconnect with myself as an artist and I did that by going back to school and painting and stuff", in addition to being emotionally affected by the passing of her parents. John Toll was hired to serve as cinematographer that same month. Toll was cinematographer on the Wachowskis' films Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending, and Sense8.
The film's press release states that The Matrix Resurrections is a direct sequel to the story established in the first film. This has led to some confusion among fans, who wonder if this means that Resurrections is still a sequel to the original Matrix trilogy or if it works as a sequel to only The Matrix (1999), ignoring the events of the second and third films. Despite this, the first official trailer briefly shows Neo's human body is still blinded from the events of Revolutions, with Mitchell confirming shortly afterwards that Resurrections takes place twenty years after that film. Mitchell also elaborated that the film isn't "yet another sequel" and subverts the rules of Hollywood's blocksbusters, yet contains references to the original Matrix trilogy.
Reeves and Moss were confirmed to be reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity upon the film's announcement in August 2019. In October 2019, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was cast in the film, with some sources speculating he would be playing a young Morpheus, while Neil Patrick Harris was added in an undisclosed role. Jada Pinkett Smith entered negotiations to reprise her role as Niobe, with Jessica Henwick entering negotiations to join in an undisclosed role, later revealed as Bugs. Pinkett-Smith and Henwick were confirmed in December, along with the additions of Jonathan Groff and Toby Onwumere.
In January 2020, Eréndira Ibarra was cast, with Priyanka Chopra entering final negotiations. That same month, Lambert Wilson, who played the Merovingian in the sequels, revealed he was in negotiations to return. Hugo Weaving, who starred in the franchise as Agent Smith, was originally approached to reprise his role, but he had scheduling conflicts with his involvement in Tony Kushner's theatrical adaptation of The Visit, leading Wachowski to conclude that the dates would not work after staying in touch with Weaving for a while. Laurence Fishburne later announced that he was not asked to reprise his role as Morpheus. Both Weaving and Fisburne were later confirmed to appear in the film through archive footage from the first three films. Chopra and Wilson's castings were confirmed in February, along with the additions of Andrew Caldwell, Brian J. Smith and Ellen Hollman.
Joe Pantoliano, who appeared in the first film as Cypher, expressed interest in April 2020 in reprising his role despite his character's death in the first installment and messaged Lana Wachowski about the possibility of bringing him back, but received no response from her. In September 2020, it was announced Daniel Bernhardt was reprising his role as Agent Johnson from The Matrix Reloaded (2003). Christina Ricci was announced as part of the cast in June 2021; she had previously worked with the Wachowskis on Speed Racer (2008). Telma Hopkins was also announced to be part of the cast in September 2021.
Under the code name "Project Ice Cream", the film began production in San Francisco on February 4, 2020. Filming also took place at Babelsberg Studio in Germany, and in Chicago. Filming in San Francisco caused irritation amongst residents and city workers after damage was inflicted to buildings and street lights. As in the case of other productions like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Venom: Let There Be Carnage (both 2021), the producers had to pay $420,000 to the San Francisco Police Department so they could film in the city. As opposed to other productions, no second unit was needed during the action sequences as Wachowski directed all the scenes herself.
On March 16, 2020, production on the film was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After filming was halted, Wachowski contemplated the possibility of never finishing the film and letting it "go down as an incomplete legendary film not meant to be seen by anyone". However, the cast insisted Wachowski to return and finish the film until Wachowski complied. On August 16, 2020, Keanu Reeves confirmed filming had resumed in Berlin. Principal photography wrapped on November 11, 2020.
In September 2021, Warner Bros. confirmed that Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer would be scoring the film, having previously collaborated with Wachowski on Sense8 and Cloud Atlas, replacing Don Davis, who composed the score for the first three films. The song "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane is prominently featured in the trailer. Wachowski said the choice of "White Rabbit" for the trailer not only was in reference to the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland elements that The Matrix had previously used and which "White Rabbit" is based on, but also a nod to Jefferson Airplane themselves which was formed as a house band for The Matrix club in San Francisco.
On August 24, 2021, the title was revealed as The Matrix Resurrections. A trailer was screened as part of Warner Bros.' panel at CinemaCon that day, featuring a meeting between Neo and Trinity. Ahead of the film's first official trailer being released on September 9, 2021, the movie's official website was updated on September 7, presenting random clips of the trailer to the user and narration based on their time of day.
The Matrix Resurrections will have its world premiere on December 18, 2021, in San Francisco. The film was initially set for release on May 21, 2021, which would have premiered alongside John Wick: Chapter 4 also starring Keanu Reeves. However, the film was postponed to April 1, 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On October 5, 2020, the film was moved to December 22, 2021. The film is set to be the final film from Warner Bros. Pictures to have a simultaneous release on the HBO Max streaming service for one month as part of the studio's plans for all of its 2021 theatrical films, as Warner Bros. will discontinue the release model in 2022 in favor of a 45-day exclusive theatrical window as part of new agreements the studio reached with Cineworld (which owns Regal Cinemas) and AMC Theatres.