All puns aside, this headline was inevitably going to happen, so don’t act so surprised.
It’s often said that’s nothing is certain in life except death, taxes, and movie studios rebooting their biggest properties in a desperate attempt to stay relevant within the franchise dominated media landscape. I think Ben Franklin might have said it, but who knows for sure.
In any case, I always kind of assumed that The Matrix would end up getting a reboot at some point in the future. The fact that the trilogy grossed over a billion and a half dollars nearly 20 years ago is just too tempting for any money hungry studio (i.e. all of them) to leave untouched. And despite the pretty negative reaction to the sequels, The Matrix remains a culturally relevant, “known” brand with a world that is ripe for exploring. And so why wouldn’t WB exploit that for all its worth?
Seems they’ve finally asked themselves that too, as The Hollywood Reporter confirms that the studio is early in production on a brand new film in The Matrix franchise. Details are of course scarce at this point, but THR claims that Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, Elektra, and…oh boy) is currently penning a script for the film, billed as a “reboot” of the series. That’s such a loose term now that it’s impossible to really say what it could entail, but my guess is that the film would follow the world of The Matrix after the events of the first trilogy, but with a new cast. More The Force Awakens then Sony’s Ghostbusters, if I was too gander. But once again, just a guess.
Even more up in the air is the involvement of any of the original filmmakers, namely the writing-directing team that brought us the first trilogy, The Wachowskis. THR says that the pair are uninvolved at this time, although Warner is reportedly hoping to at least get their blessing on the project in order to appease fans. There’s also the question of whether or not any of the original cast will appear in the film, especially if it ends up having nothing to do with the Wachowskis. For what it’s worth, Keanu Reeves has expressed interest many times in returning as Neo for further kung-fu fun, but under the condition that (you guessed it) the Wachowskis were involved too. So, yeah, everything’s pretty unclear on that front.
But it’s not like a lack of Keanu Reeves will stop this film from chugging along — the project is a reboot after all, so doesn’t exactly need Neo to be made. To continue the Force Awakens analogy, Disney would have made new Star Wars films even if they couldn’t convince Harrison Ford to come back. But they certainly wanted the original actors to be involved, to better cash in on that sweet, sweet nostalgia. But if Reeves (or Lawrence Fishburne or Carrie Anne Moss or Hugo Weaving) absolutely refuse, WB will probably just go the Independence Day: Resurgence route and make the movie around the character anyways. Considering how the last film ended, that wouldn’t even be too difficult.
But, once again, we’re putting the digital cart before the digital horse here — there’s still much to be planned before this project sees the light of day, and casting is far from set and stone. Even the name that THR floats could be picked to lead (Michael B. Jordan) is far from a certainty. But, once again, we do have one certainty: Hollywood is going to Hollywood. Rest assured, this Matrix reboot WILL see the light of day. And there’s nothing any of us can do about it.