We learned last year that Warner Bros. is planning on rebooting The Matrix, but it appears as if those reports may have been somewhat premature. And that’s because, along with the reveal that Michael B. Jordan is being eyed to star, we also heard that Zak Penn (Ready Player One) is writing a treatment, though he’s since clarified that his take on the beloved property will neither reboot nor remake it.
So, what exactly can we expect, then? Well, we’re still not sure, but from what we understand, Warner Bros. is working to put together a writer’s room (the new trend in Hollywood these days) in hopes of figuring out “the best possible way to relaunch the franchise.” It makes perfect sense that they’re doing this, too, given that the original trilogy grossed $1.8 billion worldwide and the first film is considered to be one of the greatest action movies of all-time, not to mention also one of the most influential. It was a complete game changer and still holds up to this day.
But should we expect to see Neo, Morpheus and the rest of the gang back on screen when The Matrix 4 hits theaters? Probably not, as recent comments from Penn suggest that he’s looking to move away from those characters and instead focus on new ones. Speaking to Screen Rant recently to promote Ready Player One, he offered a brief update on what he has planned for the film, saying:
“I just think that universe is brilliant, I think OASIS is like the action-comedy version of that and it doesn’t always have to be the same characters, you could go in so many different directions.”
It would seem from both these comments and ones previously made by 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, instead, 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, either. 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, too, from short prequel films, to comic books, to video games. If a new Matrix 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.