Every once in a while, a movie comes along that makes a mark on the world so indelible that it can never be touched again. In 1999, The Matrix was that movie. Written and directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, the action sci-fi blockbuster took giant, complex themes about the nature of reality, and poured them into story of heroism and self-discovery – led by Keanu Reeves as Neo, or The One.
In recent months, there’s been a notable glitch in the fandom of The Matrix, since Warner Bros. began to indicate its intention to revisit the franchise in some way, which would involve screenwriter Zak Penn – and we now have a response from Keanu Reeves on the issue.
Attending the New York Comic Con to discuss his upcoming film Replicas, Reeves spent some time taking questions from the audience – and one of those questions asked for his thoughts on the idea of anyone returning to The Matrix. Reportedly, the crowd made their displeasure at the notion clear, and Reeves appeared to endorse that reaction by holding out his microphone to capture the noise. He then responded with: “Remaking The Matrix. I don’t know. Maybe it’s… I don’t know anything about it.”
This tells us two things. Firstly, nobody involved in a new Matrix project has approached Keanu Reeves about it, and secondly, if they ever do, they may not get a positive reaction from the actor. The important thing to note here, though, is the apparent confusion over the nature of any developing Matrix project.
It would seem from comments previously made by Zak Penn that it’s the internet that’s assumed any new Matrix film would be a “remake,” but that’s specifically not the intention. What appears to be happening is an exploration of possible other stories to be told within the Matrix universe. A spinoff, or an expansion of the franchise, if you will.
Such an idea is not a terrible suggestion. The Matrix literally created an entire reality – filled with resistance societies, captive humans, and digital beings. This reality has already been expanded upon in multiple media – from short prequel films, to comic books, to video games. If a new Matrix film either dug into that additional material, or indeed, created something new to add to the universe, that could well be an exciting prospect – particularly if Michael B. Jordan is involved. The lesson for Warner Bros., it seems, is to leave the original Matrix trilogy – with all its Keanu Reeves-Laurence Fishburne-Carrie-Ann Moss success – untouched, and use it as inspiration only.