It’s time to re-enter the Matrix, as a fourth installment of the iconic cyberpunk film series on its way.
Announced just shy of the Matrix’s 20th anniversary, Matrix 4 will plunge us back into a dystopian future filled sentinel robots and digital fabrications. And after landmark announcement from Warner Brothers, Matrix 4 won’t just be available in theaters next year — it will also stream on HBO Max the same day.
When does it come out? Who’s involved? Is Keanu Reeves going to be in it? Here’s everything we know about the fourth Matrix movie.
[Ed. note: some major spoilers for the original Matrix trilogy]
When does The Matrix 4 come out?
Originally slated for May 21, 2021, then bumped to April 2022 due to COVID juggling, Matrix 4 is now officially headed for release on Dec. 22, 2021. Warner Bros.’ radical, post-pandemic release strategy will also see the movie available on HBO Max the same day, but just for one month. After the streaming run, the movie goes back to being a theatrical exclusive.
What’s it called?
Right now, it’s simply referred to as Matrix 4 with no subtitle. But considering the other two sequels were The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, we’re anticipating an eventual “R” word added to the end.
Only one of the Wachowskis is returning
And that would be Lana Wachowski, who is set to write, direct, and produce. She wrote the screenplay with Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell and Aleksander Hermon, who she worked with on Netflix’s Sense8. Lilly Wachowski won’t be involved due to her work on the Showtime series Work in Progress, a more reality-grounded series than previous Wachowski projects. She gave her blessing to the Matrix sequel, but stated in interviews for the series that she feels more drawn to creating works that explicitly deal with social issues.
After Bound, the original Matrix trilogy, Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas, and Jupiter Ascending, Matrix 4 will be the first film the two sisters are not creating together.
Who else is returning on the production side?
Grant Hill, one of the original producers on the Matrix Reloaded returns, along with Geof Darrow and Steve Skroce who were both concept and storyboard artists on the Matrix movies.
Who is in the Matrix 4 cast?
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen) and Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist) have been cast in what reports indicate are the lead roles. It’s heavily rumored that Abdul-Mateen II will be playing a young Morpheus and that Henwick will be a female “Neo-like character.” but that has not been confirmed. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Jonathan Groff (Frozen) have also been cast, along with Sense8’s Toby Onwumere. Another Sense8 alum, Eréndira Ibarra, along with Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, joined the cast in January 2020.
Who’s returning to the cast?
Jada Pinkett Smith will return to the role of Niobe, as will Lambert Wilson as The Merovingian. And perhaps most importantly for diehard Matrix-heads, Carrie Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves are returning as Trinity and Neo.
Wait, aren’t Trinity and Neo both dead?
Well, yes, but this is science fiction, after all.
The explanation is simplest for Keanu Reeves’ return: Neo is the result of a statistical anomaly repeating itself in the Matrix over and over again. Though the most recent representation of Neo seemingly reset the Matrix, the anomaly still exists, meaning that he could come again. At the end of Revolutions, in fact, the Oracle says she believes she will see Neo once more.
Trinity is a bit harder as she dies outside of the Matrix and her coming was never prophesied via statistical anomalies. Regardless, she was born within the Matrix, ergo she could reappear somehow.
The simplest answer, though: flashbacks.
What about Morpheus?
In August, Laurence Fishburne told New York Magazine that he was not participating in the sequel. “I have not been invited. Maybe that will make me write another play. I’m looking for the blessing in that. I wish them well. I hope it’s great.”
What even is the Matrix 4 going to be about?
We don’t know for sure, but the Matrix trilogy didn’t end with as much finality as it might seem. Neo sacrificed himself to save the Matrix (and thus the machines called off their attack on Zion). The Matrix is rebooted and is home to both the humans inside and some independent programs that the Architect did not anticipate. It is peaceful, but as the Architect hints that might not last long. Dun, dun, dun...
As expected, everyone involved with the fourth Matrix has been very tight-lipped about just what’s in store. Set photos have only really promised a motorcycle chase. Beyond that, there’s only been one, very sparse comment.
“It’s a very exciting relevant script,” Yahya Abdul-Mateen II told Entertainment Weekly. That’s it! We’ll just have to wait and see.