When The Matrix was released in 1999, it changed the shape of Western action films forever. From its impressive CGI work, clever storytelling and complex and intricate martial art sequences, The Matrix had it all.
The original trilogy wrapped up in 2003 with the conclusion of The Matrix Revolutions but since then there have been persistent rumours of a follow-up film. This release was eventually confirmed for the end of 2021.
What do we know so far about the return of The Matrix?
Who is directing?
While the previous three instalments of the Matrix franchise were helmed by both of the Wachowskis, only Lana Wachowski will be returning for the fourth film.
Lilly Wachowski has stated that: “I didn’t want to have gone through my transition and gone through this massive upheaval in my life, the sense of loss from my mom and dad, to want to go back to something that I had done before, and sort of [walk] over old paths that I had walked in.”
We have some ideas of the cast from the previous instalments who are set to return to the franchise. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are both set to reprise their roles from previous films.
Jada Pinkett Smith, Daniel Bernhardt and Lambert Wilson are also expected to return to the series.
One surprising omission is Laurence Fishburne. Considering how iconic the Morpheus character is to the franchise, many people likely expected his return. There are rumours that series newcomer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II could be portraying a younger version of the iconic Morpheus.
Hugo Weaving reprising his role as Agent Smith is also another notable omission from the film series. Weaving has attributed his absence to scheduling conflicts.
The release date for the fourth instalment of the franchise has shifted around on several occasions due to the coronavirus pandemic. The film is now scheduled for release on 22 December 2021.
This is good news for fans as they won’t have to wait as long as previously expected.
Very few plot details have emerged from the new film. A trailer was recently revealed behind closed doors, which appeared to show that Keanu Reeve’s character Neo is unaware of the matrix once again.
This has led to speculation that the plot may centre on him rediscovering the world of the matrix.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Lana Wachowski re-approaches the concept, and what fresh new ideas will be injected into the franchise.
While perhaps irrelevant to UK readers, The Matrix 4 will be released in both cinemas and on the HBO Max streaming service at the same time upon release. With the licensing for HBO projects owned by Sky, it is unlikely this will change before the release of the next instalment.
Also, with the heavily anticipated Spiderman No Way Home releasing only a handful of days before the The Matrix 4, it will be interesting to watch the box office battle for the number one spot.
Having been just shy of 20 years in the making, I’m sure many of us are extremely excited for the return of The Matrix this winter.