The Matrix is unquestionably one of the most iconic sci-fi films of all time, but the two films that followed the dystopian action flick are widely regarded as rather poor sequels.
Fans of the series will therefore be hoping that the upcoming fourth film will be a slightly more worthy follow up, and with several of the original stars returning for another outing expectations are certainly hight.
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss both reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity respectively, while Lana Wachowski is once again behind the camera having also written the script.
Not everyone is returning though: there’s no room in the new film for Laurence Fishburne, who played a Morpheus in the original trilogy or for Agent Smith actor Hugo Weaving.
Fishburne recenntly told New York Magazine he wasn’t invited back to take part in the next chapter, though he wished the sequel well.
While COVID-19 initially slowed down production on the sequel, Reeves recently confirmed that filming has restarted in Belgium, so hopefully we won’t be waiting too long to see our favourite rebels reunited once more, with one delay to the release date already having been announced.
Here’s everything we know so far about The Matrix 4.
When is The Matrix 4’s release date?
The Matrix 4 was originally scheduled for release on 21st May 2021, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this date was pushed back in July to Friday 1st April 2022.
The pandemic caused production on the new instalment to be halted over safety concerns, placing it behind schedule along with several other major projects.
However, Keanu Reeves recently confirmed that cast and crew restarted filming this summer, telling The Associated Press in August: “There’s some really thoughtful, effective protocols in place and the rhythm of film making has not really been impacted or interrupted.”
"We're scrappy!" Keanu Reeves returned to playing Neo this summer on the Berlin set of "The Matrix 4." He says producers have "thoughtful, effective protocols in place" to keep cast and crew safe. Reeves spoke while promoting @BillandTed3. pic.twitter.com/RtTsLOsyGP
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) August 16, 2020
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 at the moment, he said: “It goes back to, ‘Let’s put on a show! We’ll get some props, we’ve got somethings, we’re gonna write’ – and that spirit is definitely alive and well on The Matrix.”
With production up-and-running, hopefully The Matrix’s fourth instalment wont see any further delays.
Who is in the cast of The Matrix 4?
Original series leads Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will be back as doomed lovers Neo and Trinity, but its 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 reportedly landed a leading role in the film.
Some fans have speculated he could be playing a younger version of Morpheus, in the absence of Laurence Fishburne, but his role is yet to be confirmed and will probably remain under wraps for some time.
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.”
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-styled role.
How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris has also signed on to join the project, along with Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Toby Onwumere, who is reuniting with Wachowski 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 she [director 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.”
What is The Matrix 4 about?
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…
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