The Matrix 4: Release date, trailer, cast for The Matrix Resurrections
It's a world of endless possibilities for Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as they re-enter the Matrix...
The hotly-anticipated fourth Matrix movie is almost upon us, and will see Keanu Reeves reprise his role as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss return as Trinity, 18 years after they seemingly lost their lives in The Matrix Revolutions.
Reeves and Moss aren’t the only actors coming back for the ride, however, with the latest trailer for The Matrix Resurrections giving fans the first look at Jada Pinkett Smith’s return as Niobe.
But don’t be fooled by all the familiar faces – the trailer certainly promises fans that they’ll be getting much more than a version of what they’ve seen before, with Pinkett Smith looking almost unrecognisable this time around with old-age make-up and prosthetics.
"It's so easy to forget how much noise the Matrix pumps into your head," Niobe tells Neo (Reeves) in the clip. "Something else makes the same kind of noise: war."
Pinkett Smith appeared in the second and third film in the series, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, as Zion rebel fighter Niobe.
The star’s return is just one of many déjà vu moments teased in the sequel’s new trailer, which is full of throwbacks to the trilogy.
A voiceover claims that people are trapped inside “strange repeating loops” as every character in the film seems to blend with a character or event from the past. There are even a few clues in the trailer that newcomers Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jonathan Groff are playing younger versions of Morpheus and Agent Smith.
How Smith and Morpheus could look like someone else 20 years later isn’t the only question fans have about The Matrix Resurrections’ plot, with viewers also wondering quite how the movie will bring Neo and Trinity back after their deaths, how much Neil Patrick Harris actually knows, and whether Jessica Henwick’s character Bugs will turn out to be a goodie or a baddie.
We are mere weeks away from the film’s release – so let’s go down the rabbit hole with a look at everything we know so far about The Matrix 4 including release date, plot, cast and trailer information.
The Matrix 4 release date
The Matrix Resurrections will be released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 22nd December 2021.
The Matrix 4 was originally scheduled for release on 21st May 2021, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was pushed back to Friday 1st April 2022, before the film was surprisingly moved forward to its current December date.
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Like other 2021 releases from Warner Bros, The Matrix Resurrections will also have a hybrid release on HBO Max in the US – but will receive a traditional cinema-only release in the UK as the streaming service is not yet available here.
The pandemic caused production on the new instalment to be halted in March 2020 over safety concerns, placing it behind schedule along with several other major projects.
However, Keanu Reeves confirmed that cast and crew restarted filming by August 2020, telling The Associated Press: "There's some really thoughtful, effective protocols in place and the rhythm of filmmaking has not really been impacted or interrupted."
He continued: "I think everyone loves the project and if you're ever going to get into any kind of situation that needs to be figured out or how to redo this, show business people are the back. We're scrappy, we know how to get stuff done, we're inventive, we think on our feet – that kind of kindred spirit of just coming together."
Giving some insight into life on set in Berlin, he said: "It goes back to, 'Let's put on a show! We'll get some props, we've got some things, we're gonna write' – and that spirit is definitely alive and well on The Matrix."
Reeves was joined by new cast member Neil Patrick Harris for filming in Berlin, with Harris later telling Variety that he was surprised that writer-director Lana Wachowski's shoot was so "intimate".
“It didn’t feel large because it felt like she was in her sweet spot, which was filming on the fly, filming using natural light,” Harris said. “Sometimes you’d sit around for an hour waiting for the clouds to clear, and then you’d quickly film. You’d film pages at a time in 30 minutes and then be done.
"You would think that a giant movie would be 100 per cent storyboarded, animatics, and we’d be checking off shots. I think she lived that before three times over, and I would suspect that she wants to do things her own way now. It wasn’t often that you felt that you were doing something gigantic because she made it feel very intimate.”
Filming eventually wrapped in November 2020, with Germany's Babelsberg Studio marking the end of the shoot by naming a sound stage Rainbow Stage in honour of the Wachowskis.
The Matrix 4 first reactions
The first reactions are on social media for The Matrix Resurrections and they are mostly positive and even when mixed are still highly complimentary!
Kyle Buchanan of the New York Times tweeted: "MATRIX RESURRECTIONS is much more meta than you’re expecting, locking on to the original film like a Sonic & Knuckles cartridge so it can remix and riff to Lana W’s delight. Loved all that, loved the love story, loved gay actors throwing punches. But action is surprisingly blah!"
Film critic Katie Walsh tweeted: "THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS felt like Lana having a fast, loose, fun time remixing the existing material, and even though it's about the love story of Neo/Trinity, it's an unabashedly queer blockbuster."
Alex Berrington of FirstShowing.com tweeted: "'Maybe this isn't the story we think it is.' The Matrix Resurrections is a marvelous meta spectacle, questioning its own existence as it ponders why we're all still complacent. It's dense & thrilling but didn't quite blow me away. An exceptionally clever way to rethink the story."
He added: "I really need to watch again, so much to talk about. The theories don't all pan out but it introduces an entirely new set of ideas to consider. A must-see-for-yourself to think-for-yourself grand sci-fi experience. Groff is the MVP, he's glorious. Henwick is the best newcomer."
Finally, IndieWire's David Ehrlich concluded on Twitter: "The Matrix Resurrections, despite (and because of) its infinite goofiness, is the boldest & most vividly personal Hollywood sequel since The Last Jedi. a silly/sincere galaxy brain take on reboot culture that makes peace with how modern blockbusters are now only about themselves."
The full review embargo has yet to be lifted but we shall be sure to update you when they are.
The Matrix 4 cast
Original series leads Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will be back as doomed lovers Neo and Trinity, but it's unclear what the circumstances of their return will be after the shocking events of 2003's The Matrix Revolutions.
Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham) will also be back, reprising the role of Logos captain Niobe, which she previously played in the second and third Matrix films.
Meanwhile, another star who appeared in the second and third films and will reprise his role is Lambert Wilson, who returns as The Merovingian.
Rising star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who has become a DC Comics icon across roles in Aquaman and Watchmen, has been cast as a new iteration of the character Morpheus, who was played in the original trilogy by Laurence Fishburne.
We know for sure that Fishburne won't be back, with the star telling New York Magazine in August 2020, "I have not been invited. Maybe that will make me write another play. I wish them well. I hope it’s great."
However, speculation continued to grow over Fishburne's rumoured involvement, prompting the actor to reaffirm his absence in June 2021.
"I’m not involved," Fishburne told Jake's Takes. "You'll have to talk to Lana Wachowski."
Elsewhere, Iron Fist and Defenders star Jessica Henwick has also joined The Matrix 4 after impressing director Lana Wachowski in her audition – with Deadline reporting she could be up for another, Neo-style role.
How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris has also signed on to join the project, along with Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt and Brian J Smith will all be reuniting with Wachowski for the project after their collaboration on Netflix original series Sense8.
Hugo Weaving's long-running character Agent Smith (the central villain in the original trilogy) will not be making a reappearance in the sequel, as the actor revealed that a scheduling clash had prevented him from taking part in the project.
"We'd sorted the dates and then [Lana Wachowski] sort of changed her mind," he told Time Out. "They're pushing on ahead without me."
Weaving went into slightly more detail about his absence in August 2020, telling Coming Soon: "I thought we could have done my scenes in May, June and July; and we talked about money and we talked about — they were negotiating.
"And we were all pretty much sorted and agreed on dates and it was all fine, but then Lana decided she didn’t think it was going to work. So, she pulled the plug on the negotiations. That’s where it ended up. She basically didn’t feel that my commitment to the National Theatre was going to fit in with the dates that she had in mind for me."
However, one performer who will appear in the film is Christina Ricci, who was quietly added to the cast list in June 2021 (via Deadline).
Ricci was of course a '90s child star and previously worked with Lana Wachowski on 2008's Speed Racer.
The Matrix 4 posters
Warner Bros. Pictures has now released multiple posters for The Matrix Resurrections.
One International poster featuring Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Ann Moss as Trinity, as does another which shows their silhouettes.
A different poster shows off more cast members including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Morpheus, Jessica Henwick as Bugs, and Sense8 actress Eréndira Ibarra in a mysterious role.
Catch two of the posters above.
However, we have now been treated to some further character posters, featuring the above stars plus the characters portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Jonathan Groff. The latest trailer gives fans a clue that Groff will play a younger version of Agent Smith in the movie.
Catch these ones in the tweets above.
The majority of the new characters are shrouded in mystery, so we will have to wait longer to find out who these ones are playing.
The Matrix 4 trailer
The long-awaited trailer for The Matrix Resurrections dropped on Thursday 9th September.
The launch of the first trailer was announced after an innovative viral marketing campaign, harking back to the vague and mysterious teasers for the first film.
Warner Bros has resurrected WhatIsTheMatrix.com – the website famously used to advertise the first Matrix film in 1999 – where users can recreate Neo's iconic choice by choosing either the red pill or the blue pill.
As in the film, the blue pill represents sticking to existing reality – clicking on it will prompt a voiceover from Neil Patrick Harris urging you to accept that what you know is real as brief clips from the film are shown.
Choosing the red pill, however, elicits a monologue from Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who prompts you to question your reality while more footage from the film plays out.
Whichever pill you pick, the narrator rather creepily reads out the correct current time which also appears on-screen, and the film footage changes slightly each time you click on a pill – with hundreds of possible combinations reported.
Another trailer, titled Déjà Vu, dropped on Wednesday 1st December. It opens with a line from the first movie explaining that “déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix – it happens when they change something”.
That sentence then repeats several times as a black cat crosses Neo’s path just like in the first film, before we hear the words: "Maybe this isn't the story we think it is."
Could this be a hint that The Matrix Resurrections is not just going to revisit the previous movies, but completely change them in the process? Fans will have to watch the movie to find out.
The latest trailer, which dropped on Monday 6th December, teases many more déjà vu moments in the film, and gives fans a first look at Jada Pinkett Smith’s return as Niobe. Watch below.
The Matrix 4 plot
No plot information has been released as yet, so we're left to wildly speculate. Either Neo survived the conclusion to The Matrix Revolutions, which saw him murder-suicide big bad Agent Smith, or he's set for a Jesus-like resurrection. The latter would fit with the Messiah metaphor that pervaded the trilogy.
Cast members Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves certainly had high praise for the film's script when they were interviewed for a feature in Empire Magazine.
Moss said: "When it was brought to me in the way that it was brought to me, with incredible depth and all of the integrity and artistry that you could imagine, I was like, ‘This is a gift.’ It was just very exciting."
Reeves added: "Lana Wachowski wrote a beautiful script and a wonderful story that resonated with me. That’s the only reason to do it. To work with her again is just amazing. It’s been really special, and the story has, I think, some meaningful things to say, and that we can take some nourishment from.”
And Reeves again praised the script in August while speaking to Sirius XM, calling it "beautiful" again and adding, "And I’m really grateful to be here, and to be a part of this story."
As teased in the coda to Revolutions, a new war between man and machine seems inevitable, and will likely be the primary source of trouble for our heroes.
Some brief shots from the film's website honestly left us with more questions than answers – but it does seem as if Neo is back in The Matrix, taking blue pills and seeing a therapist played by Neil Patrick Harris. However, in echoes of the first film, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's character then enters his life, suggesting that his reality is a mirage...
The Matrix Resurrections will be released on Wednesday 22nd December 2021. If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Movies hub for the latest news.